Men’s baseball to face York in playoffs

Team records two wins, two losses, to end regular season in second place

Stephen Gauthier makes contact during Saturday’s doubleheader against York at Megaffin Park.
Stephen Gauthier makes contact during Saturday’s doubleheader against York at Megaffin Park.

The gods of baseball were as fickle as the gods of weather as the men’s baseball team split a double header against the York University Lions on a chilly Saturday afternoon last weekend.

Lefty pitcher Mike Arsenault got off to a strong start in game one, allowing only one hit and striking out two players in the first inning.

Several players had base hits for Queen’s in the first inning but York’s defence consistently denied them the chance to score.

The Gaels also ran a tight defense and the game remained scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning. Arsenault struck out his third player of the game to send the Gaels to bat.

The Gaels scored three runs in the fourth inning, bringing the score to 3-0, where it would stay for the remaining three innings.

By the end of the game, Arsenault looked like he was beginning to tire but the team’s defence was able to cover for any mistakes he made. He recorded six strikeouts.

Arsenault had three consecutive strikeouts to close out the game. He recorded six in total.

Unfortunately for the Gaels, the second half of the day was a whole new ball game.

The defense that served the Gaels so well during game one completely broke down during game two.

When asked about the difference between the two games, pitcher Geoff Renihan promptly replied, “Mike Arsenault.”

In the second game, pitching was split between four players, Dan Bevan, Mike Bertoia, Geoff Renihan and Glen Uhrigg. All of them recorded at least one strikeout but none were able to find a good rhythm, and the entire team was plagued by inconsistency throughout the game.

York opened the scoring in the first inning and continued to exploit gaps in the Queen’s defence.

The absence of clutch hitting was again a source of trouble for Queen’s. The bases were loaded twice during the game and twice the Gaels failed to capitalize on the opportunity.

But despite the dreary outcome, there were a few bright spots in game two. In the fourth inning the team came together for an impressive double play, and home runs in the fifth and seventh innings by Fulton and Cook accounted for the Gaels’ three runs of the game.

The final score was 7-4 in favour of York.

Arsenault said the collapse may have been the result of overconfidence after a successful first game.

“York is probably a better team than their record indicates,” he said. “I think maybe we took [them] too lightly.”

Head coach Tom Reid agreed that a lack of focus contributed to the loss.

The Gaels went into Sunday’s games against Durham knowing that two consecutive wins meant they would finish first in their division and receive a by through the first round of playoffs.

“We know our fate is still in our hands,” Reid said before leaving for Oshawa.

Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned.

The Gaels conceded game one to the Lords, losing 5-1.

Reid said the team again lacked intensity and their usually strong defense was also a liability.

Jesse Kruger pitched the opening game and though he gave up only five runs, he walked six players.

Reid said the batters came alive in game two, making several impressive hits, but timely hitting was still a problem.

“We have to be more patient with runners on base,” he said. “Sometimes guys will chase balls outside the strike zone and that puts them behind the eight-ball.”

Despite the difficulties, the Gaels led 5-0 in the sixth inning when the game was cut short due to rain.

Queen’s catcher Ben McLeod said stronger pitching in game two also added to the win.

“Probably the story of the game was our pitcher, Mark Greenberg. He only faced 17 players for his 15 outs,” he said.

The Gaels finished the regular season in second place and will play a best-of-three series at home at Megaffin Park next weekend against York to open their playoff campaign.

Looking ahead to York, Reid said tightening up defense and focusing on clutch hitting will be the aims of this week’s practices.

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