Inconsistent play down the stretch results in an early exit for the reigning silver medalists as they fail to clinch a provincial playoff spot

The men’s baseball team failed to advance to the Ontario University Athletics West Regional finals after losing 10 to eight against the Brock Badgers on Oct. 7. Finishing their regular season with a four and seven record, the Marauders’ championship redemption will wait another year following three consecutive playoff losses

At last year’s OUA finals, McMaster University lost the title game six to two to the Toronto Varsity Blues. That season, the team entered the playoffs without major contributors Nicolas Velocci and Mark Zanette due to a collision at their qualifier against the Guelph Gryphons. Despite their injuries, the Marauders did manage to work their way into the semifinals, beating the Carleton Ravens six to five before losing to Toronto.   

Heading into the 2022 playoffs, the Marauders faced stout competition in their final set of regular season games. Starting with a doubleheader against the Gryphons on Oct. 1, the team struggled to hold their own against a top-seeded opponent.  

In game one, McMaster fell to the Gryphons in a close three to two matchup that went to extra innings. Rookie Benjamin Cook pitched phenomenally, allowing just two runs over seven innings of play. His replacement, James (Rory) Bredin, stymied hitters across two innings before Ashton Patterson’s RBI single in the tenth gave the Gryphons their eventual three to two win.  

Following the defeat, Kenneth Noguchi took the mound in the second game; however, three defensive errors in the first left the Marauders in a four to zero hole. While McMaster would claim four runs by the fifth inning, the Gryphons completed the sweep with a 12 to four victory.  

The next day, the team played the Windsor Lancers in a consecutive doubleheader. Despite their short rest, McMaster dominated Lancers’ pitching, collecting 16 runs across the pair of games to win eight to three in the first game and eight to four in the second.  

Riding the back-to-back victories, the team prepared to take on their regional qualifier against the Gryphons and Brock Badgers on Oct. 7.  

While Brock gained an early five to one lead in their first contest, McMaster pooled together four runs in the bottom of the fourth to tie the score. Shortly after, Brock returned with their own four run rally on back-to-back-to-back doubles in the sixth. The Badgers would keep their lead and finish the game with a final line score of 10 to seven. 

Against Guelph, the Gryphons lineup continued to torment the Marauders' staff. After two innings of play, the Gryphons held a six run lead. The team kept adding on until the score reached 11-1, activating the fifth inning mercy rule to hand McMaster their second tournament defeat.  

On Oct. 8, the Marauders returned to face Brock for a chance to play Guelph in the tournament finale, needing to win both games in order to advance. The team came out swinging, leading to an offensive frenzy capped off by a bases-loaded, 3 RBI triple by Gabriel Knox that put McMaster up eight to three going into the bottom of the seventh.  

Unfortunately, the pitching came undone, with the Badgers pulling ahead 10 to eight in the eighth inning on a four run rally. Senior pitcher Hayden Stam closed out the game to knock McMaster out of the playoffs. 

The Badgers would go on to lose to Guelph 14 to two in the West Regional final

Having played in his last season, Zanette imparted some final advice for his teammates, reminding them to always keep their plate approach the same no matter the situation.  

“When you’re young and you’re having your first, second, third, at bats in the OUA and the pressure’s on, guys are yelling at you. . .  it can get a little intimidating. But just sticking to your approach and doing your own thing is the biggest thing,” said Zanette.  

When you’re young and you’re having your first, second, third, at bats in the OUA and the pressure’s on, guys are yelling at you. . .  it can get a little intimidating. But just sticking to your approach and doing your own thing is the biggest thing.

Mark Zanette, Member of the Marauders Baseball team

Joining Zanette, Noguchi, Philip Hache and Colin Heron will be departing from the baseball program next year. Despite their losses, Heron hopes this year’s OUAs will be a steppingstone for the team to grow as athletes and leaders on the bench.  

“I think that a lot of those players that got their feet wet this year, going forward, are going to be able to draw from that experience and perform well. . . [These playoffs] will serve as a good opportunity to build that experience for the future,” said Heron.  

I think that a lot of those players that got their feet wet this year, going forward, are going to be able to draw from that experience and perform well. . . [These playoffs] will serve as a good opportunity to build that experience for the future.

Colin Heron, Member of the Marauders Baseball Team

For its ten rookies, maturity and development will be key to the rosters future success. Although they failed to improve upon last season’s silver medal, the Marauders’ young core of talent will be interesting to watch in their 2023 campaign.  

C/O Yoohyun Park, Multimedia Coordinator

These are the McMaster sports teams to watch this year

In the 2021-2022 season, there was plenty to be proud of in the world of McMaster University sports. Between the school's 11 U Sports clubs and the 16 Ontario University Athletics teams, there was always something going on. Now heading into the 2022-2023 season, here are the teams you should have your eye on.  

Honorable mentions 

The women’s volleyball team may not have finished the year on the podium, but they certainly had a promising year. The team is centered around star Sullie Sundara, the 2021-2022 rookie of the year award winner, first team all-star and U21 team Canada member, as well as fellow first team all-star Jessie Nairn and second team all-star Ellie Hatashita. The team finished second in the West, having won eight and lost four in the regular season before being upset by the Western Mustangs in the quarter final. Going forward, the team has a very young core, only having lost a couple players heading into the season. With their last OUA championship having been only five seasons ago, and their last finals appearance only four seasons ago, they have a chance to make it back and do some real damage this season.  

The 2021-2022 men’s baseball team was one for the history books. Despite what the team has been through, they managed to bring home an OUA silver. Outfielder Nik Motruk also won the most valuable player award, while Joshua Kalmin took home rookie of the year honors. It was a huge year for the team and one would feel safe in assuming the club would find themselves in the power rankings the following season. However, many key graduating members have kept the team in the honorable mentions. Back-to-back MVP winner Motruk and former Cy Young winner (awarded to the league’s best pitcher) Julian Tymochko as well as a couple other notable contributors have completed their time at McMaster. The baseball team faces an uphill climb as they look to return to the OUA playoffs in their upcoming season.  

5. Men’s Wrestling 

The men’s wrestling team went a long way in 2021-2022, finding their way into the five spot in this season's power rankings. Over the past year there were two major tournaments for the team, the Brock Open and the OUA Championship. At Brock the men’s team managed to pull away with a first place finish, as Francesco Fortino, Trystan Kato, Luken Lawson and Sarpartap Lally all won the gold in their respective weight classes. Five other members of the team also found themselves on the podium with silver or bronze. 

Shortly after the Brock Open, McMaster as a team finished second in the province at the OUA Championship. Peter Shirley, Trystan Kato and Francesco Fortino took home gold medals, while the team also earned two silvers and no bronze finishes. Shirley would finish the season as OUA’s outstanding male wrestler of the year.  

All members of the team are expected to return for the 2022-2023 season.  

4. Men’s Basketball 

Following a loaded year for the team, the men’s basketball team just fell short after losing a close matchup to the eventual OUA champion Brock Badgers in the semi-finals. The team saw a blazing hot start leading into the winter break, winning all six of their matchups. Following their return to play in January, they started to slow down, in part due to more difficult competition. The team still finished with a strong 11 wins and five losses. They were the only team — regular season and playoffs — to defeat the Badgers all year.  

The team, led by former Maine Red Claws assistant coach Patrick Tatham, is full of explosive young talent. In 2021-2022 they only had one player, Luka Mircetic, in his fourth year of eligibility (or later), creating a path for sustainable success. With Jordan Henry (first team all-star), Mike Demagus (second team all-star), Culley Bremner (all-rookie team) and co returning this season, the continued chemistry between the already strong ball club could go a long way.  

3. Men’s Soccer 

The 2021-2022 season was a strong, but underwhelming one for McMaster men’s soccer team. After finishing second in the central division with an overall record of 6-2-2, the Marauders fell in their first round quarterfinal matchup against the defending champion and nationally third ranked, Carleton Ravens. The team was expected to go much further, but ultimately fell victim to an unfortunate early round matchup, facing arguably the most difficult team possible.  

Despite the early playoff exit, the team showed promise. Dusan Kovacevic and Al-Shakman were named to the All-Canadian team, while Al-Shakman was also selected to the all-rookie team, and named OUA Central rookie of the year.  

Heading into the upcoming season, it is a team still rich with talent. The biggest challenge for the club will be overcoming a coaching change, following the departure of longtime McMaster head coach Dino Perri, who spent the last 14 years with the team. He won three OUA titles and qualified for five national championships, which included a silver medal run in 2014. The Hamilton Soccer Hall of Fame member will be succeeded by assistant coach Chris Markou, who will take on an interim role.  

2. Women’s Basketball 

The women’s basketball team has to be one of the most exciting young teams McMaster has to offer. In a 2021-2022 season that was supposed to be a rebuilding year, the team finished with a winning record of nine wins and six losses, locking themselves into a playoff spot. Their season would end in a close 49-45 loss to the Brock Badgers in the quarterfinal.  

McMaster’s basketball teams commonly credit their success to a strong culture. Along with 28 year veteran coach and three time coach of the year award winner Therese Burnes, the entire roster from the 2021-2022 season is expected to return. The team, led by Sarah Gates and Mia Spadafora — both members of the Marauders 2019 national championship team — has a great opportunity to continue their upward trajectory on a path of improvement through a greater sense of familiarity and on-court chemistry. There could be much more than just a playoff berth to remember the 2022-2023 season by. 

1. Men’s Volleyball 

There is no team more clear cut for the number one spot than the Marauders men’s volleyball team. Since the 2007-2008 season, McMaster has won the provincial title in a staggering 10 of 14 playoff runs, the most recent being the 2021-2022 season in their return to the court.  

The Marauders shined bright all season long, sweeping their way to the OUA championships by winning all 15 games they played. Ranked as the third best team in Canada, they continued through to the national championship, where they placed fifth. Individually, the team was loaded with accolades. Dave Preston took home the coach of the year award, Robbie Fujisawa and Maxime Gratton were named to the all-rookie team while Gratton won the rookie of the year, Wojtek Kraj and Mateusz Wlodarski made the second team all-star and team captain Jordan Pereira and Sam Cooper were named to the first team all-star.  

Pereira is the only graduating member of the team, with everyone else slated to return to the court, so the Marauders have an incredibly bright future ahead as they continue to dominate the volleyball world.  

C/O Magnus Hanson

Having lost key players to graduation, the team will attempt to follow up on their OUA win

The 2021-2022 baseball season was an exciting one for the team. Following more than a year without sports due to the pandemic, the team returned to play with huge expectations. While reigning Cy Young award winner (given to the best pitcher) Julian Tymochko and reigning most valuable player award winner Nikolas Motruk were returning for their final seasons, the whole team had their eye on the gold.  

By the end of the year, the team had picked up a lot of hardware, yet again. Motruk won his second consecutive MVP award, several members of the team were named to the all-star team and pitcher Joshua Kalmin was named rookie of the year. As a team they fell short of their gold medal goal but they still secured a silver in the provincial championship.  

By the end of the year, the team had picked up a lot of hardware, yet again. Motruk won his second consecutive MVP award, several members of the team were named to the all-star team and pitcher Joshua Kalmin was named rookie of the year. As a team they fell short of their gold medal goal but they still secured a silver in the provincial championship.  

Although the team was excited to bring home a silver, they had just gotten a taste of the finals and the gold was within reach. This year, they don’t want to lose the last game of the season. The only difference is they’ll have to do so without several notable players graduating.  

Outfielder Motruk and pitchers Tymochko and Ryan Clark are some of the names from what was a rather large graduating class on the baseball team. They were all major contributors on the team and although there are several young players ready to step up, the impact of their absences are not easy to replace.  

“It’s true we’ve lost some staple guys that have been a part of the team for five-six years, which does have an impact but it was time for them to leave and the entire roster knows it’s time to step up. We all got a taste of what a championship might be last year and we all want to get back to that spot,” explained outfielder Magnus Hanson

Last season the team was generally aware of the impending graduates but managed to play on without concern, citing their common goal of winning as their primary focus. This mentality is one the team will likely try to recreate this season as they regroup with some new faces in the everyday lineups.  

“Of course, we knew that guys were graduating and leaving but it wasn’t something we’d discussed. We knew those guys wanted to win, we wanted to win, so we just started winning some baseball games. I don’t think it was any drive to try and get these guys a championship before they graduate, it was just they wanted to win, we wanted to win,” said Hanson.  

There is still a substantial amount of talent on the team and the guys are confident they can still go a long way with or without their decorated veterans. They just need to focus on themselves and find their way back to the same collective goal as they’ve had in past years.   

“The key thing is focusing on the guys we have here. We just have to get our job done . . . There’s definitely unfinished business,” said pitcher Kalmin. 

"The key thing is focusing on the guys we have here. We just have to get our job done . . . There’s definitely unfinished business."

Joshua Kalmin, Pitcher

Along with some new recruits, the team will get some major reinforcements come the season's start. Upper year outfielder Mark Zanette and shortstop Nicholas Velocci will make their long-awaited returns to the field following their collision last season, which forced them to sit out much of the playoff run and several months of training thereafter.  

“I think I can speak for everyone when I say we’re excited to see [Zanette] and Velocci back and full strength,” said Hanson.  

Both players described the two as big additions to the team, emphasizing the impact they had last season both on the field and with the bats. With a strong mindset and a chip on their shoulders, the team could go a long way but there will be a lot for them to prove with such big shoes to fill.  

In a year of COVID-19 restrictions, student-athletes have found new ways to improve their game during the pandemic

C/O Esra Rakab

In a year where McMaster University sports seasons had to be cancelled and training has become increasingly difficult due to social-distancing restrictions, teams and athletes have had to find new ways to keep improving. Not only are these athletes missing out on the most critical method of improvement — the cancelled games in which they regularly play — but practices have also looked extremely different throughout the school year.

Some teams opted to train via virtual practices, gathering on Zoom to work out together and run drills individually. Others have opted to continue hosting regular in-person practices, simply adhering to the provincial restrictions. That being said, the majority of teams have created a variety of in-between scenarios in their best attempts to keep their athletes on the right track to improvement.

Tyler Pavelic, a middle on the McMaster men’s volleyball team, discussed the differences and difficulties of the in-person practices the team has held this year.

“Training in the pandemic has been pretty tough, especially considering we have to wear masks during the whole practice . . . With the guidelines here in Hamilton, we are only allowed 10 guys at a time, so for a sport like volleyball where you need six-on-six to play, we can’t really do much,” said Pavelic.

"With the guidelines here in Hamilton, we are only allowed 10 guys at a time, so for a sport like volleyball where you need six-on-six to play, we can’t really do much.”

Tyler Pavelic

Practice might be much difficult in the pandemic, but for Pavelic, it’s the missed gameplay that was the biggest punch to the gut.

“[On] gamedays, it’s a great feeling with a lot of fans, loud music . . . It’s just a great experience in every game that everyone looks forward to during the week,” said Pavelic.  When asked what he missed most about pre-pandemic sports, the answer was simple: “Just games, games were awesome,” said Pavelic.

Julian Tymochko, a member of Mac's men's baseball team, is another Marauder who spoke about the hardships the pandemic has caused on his team.

“It’s been tough — we haven’t really been able to get any official practices going. The best we could do was have about 10 guys get out, throw a little bit of live batting practice, and get some ground ball work in and all of that. That was during the summer mostly, we really haven’t done much since then,” said Tymochko.

“It’s been tough — we haven’t really been able to get any official practices going. The best we could do was have about 10 guys get out, throw a little bit of live batting practice, and get some ground ball work in and all of that.”

Julian Tymochko

With practices limited, and limitations surrounding indoor practices, Tymochko has found himself improving within the mental/strategy-based aspects of his game from his own home, something many athletes have turned to this past season.

“Something that I’ve been really excited about recently is that college baseball in the states has started up . . . Typically I’ll start my morning watching two or three highlights from the games, like a Vanderbilt-Arkansas game or something like that,” said Tymochko.

Tymochko enjoys watching his American counterparts to analyze how they play the game. He considers each and every move to help improve the way he goes into each game.

“I’m watching those highlights and seeing those pitchers from our age group in North America, how they’re going about their in-game play. Just looking at how they’re playing, considering that they’re the top of the game, they’re the top competition for our age group,” explained Tymochko.

Tymochko, the 2019-2020 Canadian Baseball Guru Cy Young winner, awarded to the league’s best pitcher, has been working extra hard over the offseason, as McMaster Baseball isn’t all he has been training for.

After his Cy Young-winning season, the fifth-year athlete was signed by the Fort McMurray Giants of the Western Canadian Baseball League.

“During the pandemic it was so hard to get a training routine and a good regimen, so I reached out to a trainer via Zoom. For a while I was doing twice a week training sessions with him on Zoom, just getting a good workout,” said Tymochko.

The primary goal Tymochko was going for was finding ways to workout without the typical training equipment offered by McMaster.

“He knew workouts with minimal amounts of equipment that still made me feel a lot stronger, smoother and way more mobile, and I would say that’s what I worked on the most this offseason,” said Tymochko. 

The workload Tymochko has undergone similarly resembles what many McMaster athletes have found themselves striving for during the pandemic. With many struggling to find the resources they would’ve had at McMaster, and the limited and potentially cancelled practices, they’ve had to find ways to keep pushing through.

Whether it’s working with a trainer, finding new training methods at home or doing their best to train with their teams despite the restrictions, these student-athletes have found ways to keep getting better, and they’re undoubtedly looking forward to showcasing these new improvements next season.

Photos from Silhouette Photo Archives

The McMaster men’s baseball team season has been off to a fairly good start. Sitting in fourth place in the Ontario University Athletics standings, the Marauders have a 7-3 record without even playing at home yet.

The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks delivered the Marauders’ first loss of the campaign, while the team’s other losses came in back-to-back games against the Brock University Badgers. Yet, the next weekend, they bounced back to kick off a 4-0 winning streak. This is not easy to do as home field advantage can often weigh in on the outcome of a match; despite this, the Marauders talent has shone through.

“With this being our first game at home, it's kind of an anomaly, because usually we play an 18-game season and our home and away games are split between. But this year, it just so happened that we played all our away games in the beginning,” said former player Kenny Noguchi, who now works as the team’s social media manager.

[spacer height="20px"]With only home games remaining for the rest of the team’s season, this puts the Marauders in a good position to get the support they need to finish off strong. Also, a new stadium closer to school helps too.

“We used to play at Bernie Arbour Stadium which was up the mountain,” said Noguchi. “But now it's at Volunteer Park in Dundas, so it's a lot more accessible for students which is awesome.”

Although the team is not a U Sports team, Noguchi believes it is still just as important for McMaster students to support them like they do others.

“All sports here on campus are equally important from everything to squash to baseball to badminton,” said Noguchi. “All athletes are working very hard to represent our school in the best way we can, so to get some more support from the fans would be awesome.”

This weekend’s matches against the University of Guelph Gryphons and the University of Western Ontario Mustangs are the first games at home for the Marauders.

Catch them this Saturday and Sunday at Volunteer Park.

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