After a year and a half without sports, Nikolas Motruck and the rest of the guys have returned and they’re hungry for a championship
Last year’s university sports season getting cancelled due to COVID-19 was a tough blow for athletes around the world. Pro sports leagues temporarily shut down, most university sports operated in little or no capacity and athletes were suffering greatly.
McMaster University hasn’t seen its athletes compete since sports were cancelled in early 2020, and athletes feared they would not see competition in 2021 either, until the Ontario University Athletics officially announced that there would be a season this fall.
The McMaster Marauders baseball team has been especially eager to make their return to the field after a somewhat disappointing conclusion to last year’s season. With Most Valuable Player winner Nikolas Motruck and the Cy Young award, awarded to the league’s best pitcher, winner Julian Tymochko, the team managed to fight their way to the semifinals before losing to the Laurier Golden Hawks, who would end up finishing as league champions.
Despite falling short of their championship aspirations in 2019, the season had numerous high points for the team, with Motruck’s MVP award among them. Despite finishing the season with an incredible .581 batting average and a .930 slugging percentage, Motruck was caught off guard after learning he had won the league’s most prestigious individual award.
“I was kind of speechless, I wasn’t really expecting that,” said Motruck. “I had a long road to get there from first year, but we had put in a lot of work . . . I was really enjoying my time, and it was really just icing on the cake when they announced that I had won the MVP. It was something I had never thought was possible.”
Following such a strong season, Motruck was eager to return to play in 2020, but never got that chance. For 2021, he remained hopeful that there would be a season in his fifth and final year. He never stopped working to continue getting better. Knowing that there would be one final opportunity to get on the field before graduating was extremely meaningful.
“I was kind of up in the air about possibly having played my last season and not knowing it. That was tough news to take. . . Just being able to do it one more time before having to graduate is such a great feeling,” explained Motruck.
When asked about his goals going into his last season, Motruck made his aspirations very clear: winning. He stressed how much time and effort the team has put in to prepare for this season, and believes that this could be a very special year for McMaster baseball.
“We’ve all been working so hard for this since we’ve been here, so the goal is absolutely to win the championship. To say that I want to win [the title] is an understatement,” said Motruck.
After having finished the last year’s regular season with nine wins and three losses, the team has their sights set on bigger things this year. Should Motruck have a season anything like that which earned him the MVP award, the team should have an opportunity to do some real damage. For a team who came ever so close to the finals just prior to the pandemic, they will finally get their long-awaited opportunity for redemption.