By Andrew Fayed, Contributor
Nikolas Motruk knew that the McMaster Marauders’ men’s baseball team would come out strong in their four-game opening weekend, but even the fourth-year veteran admits that the team outperformed even their own high expectations for themselves. With an absolutely incredible 58 runs in four games, it’s safe to say that the rest of the league has been put on notice, that this year, the Marauders have come to play.
“When I started in my first year, we had a total of four wins, and it really didn’t look promising. We had five wins the next year before we finally had a winning record at 10-8 last year which was the first time we had a winning record in five years. So, this year we definitely expected to come out stronger than ever, but maybe not quite as strong as we did,” says Motruk with a laugh.
The four games played this past weekend came against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, the Ryerson Rams, the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and the Carleton University Ravens.
“We’ve had a bit of a rivalry with them [UofT] over the past few years, last year they actually walked us off in an elimination game in the Ontario University Athletics championship, so we were definitely hungry for them. We knew we had to come out strong and set the tone for the weekend, and we scored five in the first inning,” Motruk said.
Motruk’s performance this past weekend jumped off the stat sheet going 9-15 from the plate, with five extra base hits, and 10 runs batted in. Motruk was not only a strong player on the men’s baseball team, but it was enough for him to capture the prestigious Pita Pit Male Athlete of the Week award. Motruk credits his ability to stay calm under pressure and his confidence in his batting abilities as the keys to his monumental success.
“You can never let baseball get to your head. You always have to keep the same approach and stay confident at the plate. I went into every at bat knowing what the pitcher was going to throw at me and knowing that I had a job to do. When your team is playing well, there are always runners on base so those RBI’s are more of a team stat,” said Motruk.
When questioned on being Male Athlete of the Week, Motruk was quick to build up his team and his sport instead of focusing on himself.
“It’s not so much of a me thing, I just feel so good for the team that now we’re finally getting this recognition. It’s really a huge step forward for the team in general and for baseball as a university sport. Some students don’t even know that we have a baseball team, so this kind of recognition is really cool,” Motruk noted.
As a four-year veteran, Motruk has been through it all with the marauders’ baseball team. But back in his first year, Motruk was initially worried about the difference in workload from high school to university as a mechanical engineering student and was very hesitant about playing baseball for the Marauders at all.
“I didn’t really want to play baseball at first, I thought that students were all set up to fail and the schedules were so hectic, I thought that there was no way I could do this. I have to give credit to my parents who really motivated me to give it a shot, and I joined the team. I played three innings in my first year, and that was definitely an eye-opening experience. That really motivated me, even more, to get better. I pushed myself hard over the next couple of years, and here we are today,” Motruk added.
You can see Motruk and the Marauders next on Sept. 28 as they face the Queens University Gaels and York University Lions doubleheader in Kitchener.
Nikolas Motruk (8) OF