OSHAWA, Ont. - Winning their first OCAA baseball championship and become only the second school to capture the title, the Humber Hawks defeated the five-time defending champion St. Clair Saints 14-5 on Saturday afternoon at Kinsmen Stadium in Oshawa.
Both high-powered offences were on full display as the Hawks and Saints entered the third inning of the championship final tied 5-5.
However, the Hawks scored 10 runs over the next four innings, highlighted by a two-run triple by Dennis Dei Baning in the bottom of the fifth to separate themselves from the eventual silver medalists. Meanwhile, Hawks starting pitcher Braden Taylor settled in, shutting out the Saints through four innings following the offensive start from both sides.
Humber first baseman Brandon Lyons was named championship MVP after pitching a complete game shutout in Humber’s semifinal win, while also producing seven runs on 3-for-4 from the plate through two tournament games.
“It was cool to do it (win first OCAA championship) and probably feels a little sweeter doing it to them (St. Clair),” said Lyons about Humber winning their first OCAA baseball championship. “We didn’t really do anything different this weekend than we did all season. We did our job, didn’t complicate it, kept it simple and it all worked out.”
In the championship game Braden Taylor earned the win, pitching six innings for the Hawks. He allowed five earned runs on seven hits and three walks – striking out two Saints.
On the opposite of the diamond it was Michael Beale that took the loss, going only three innings for St. Clair. He allowed seven earned runs on six hits and five walks, while striking out one.
“You can say a lot and say nothing at the same time right now – it’s bittersweet and you’re living in this moment right now,” said OCAA coach of the year Matt Ferreira. “It’s taken us a long time to get here. You start thinking about all the players from year-to-year, some of the coaches we’ve had and some of the changes we’ve made over the past few years. Really, you think about it being a collaborative nine or ten year effort to get here. Kudos to St. Clair, because staying at the top of the mountain for as long as they have is incredible.”
The Saints run ends at five years and their perfect 15-0 record at the OCAA championship came to a close this weekend with two losses to the Hawks.
For the defending champions, they earned their way to the gold medal game following a 5-4 victory over the Fanshawe Falcons on Saturday morning.
After exchanging runs in the first inning, the Saints tallied three more over the next three innings, while Saints pitcher Micah Harris shutout the Falcons. Momentum then swung to Fanshawe as they solved Harris, scoring three runs of their own through the fifth and sixth innings to even the game 4-4.
All square heading into the final frame, the Saints loaded the bases and drew a game-winning walk to seal the victory. Despite the loss, the Falcons walk away with the OCAA bronze medal.
The Humber Hawks will next serve as hosts for the National College Baseball Championship scheduled for Oct. 25-27. Both the St. Clair Saints and Fanshawe Falcons will also be competing at the national tournament.
“We don’t want to get too high on it (going into nationals as Ontario champions),” said Lyons. “We just want to stick to the game plan and we’ll see where that gets us next weekend.”
Fanshawe: Brendon Robertson
St. Clair: Garik Godard, Brendan Renaud
Humber: Brandon Lyons, Andrew Thomson
Humber: Brandon Lyons