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.  

C/O Seyran Mammadov and McMaster sports Instagram

The baseball team finds big success in 2021, bringing back several awards.

As Canadian university sports teams returned from more than a full year off from their sports, many found themselves brushing off the rust that came from no in person practices and light workouts. The Marauders baseball team was not one of them. 

After a near elimination earlier in October, the team surged all the way to the Ontario University Athletics finals against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, falling six to two while earning themselves a silver medal. To complement their successful season, outfielder Nik Motruck also won his second consecutive most valuable player award and pitcher Josh Kalmin took home the rookie of the year award

As if a provincial silver medal wasn’t exciting enough, Josh Kalmin had an amazing week upon hearing that he had officially been declared the rookie of the year award winner, catching him by surprise. 

“I was in Costco getting a mattress for my apartment when I saw that I was mentioned on Twitter. When I first saw it, it was exciting. [It’s] obviously really nice to be recognized by your peers for an award like that . . . Although it’s an individual award, the culture that McMaster baseball set up for me coming in was really the driving force. This team gives 110 per cent every single day,” explained Kalmin.

Although Kalmin had a great season himself, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the team, who finished with a record of three wins and two losses and came one game away from elimination in the qualifying round — but they never let go of their hope. Kalmin spoke to the fight in the team, praising his teammates for never letting go. 

“I think that the season had a lot of ups and downs and there were a lot of opportunities for us to quit or give up, but this team really persevered and we came together as a group,” said Kalmin.

Kalmin stressed how proud he was of the team and the silver medal that they brought home, but remains hungry for more after getting ever so close to the gold.

“I’m proud of the team and the year we had, with us overcoming everything that we overcame, especially with what happened in the regional. I’m proud of the accomplishment we had, but I want to come back next year and finish the job [and] win it all,” explained Kalmin.

The team overcame a lot to get to where they were. Going into the regional, not only were they on the brink of elimination after losing the first two games on Saturday Oct. 10, but they were also still in shock over an injury to two of their teammates. 

During their second game on Oct. 10, Mark Zanette and Nicholas Velocci struck one another in a scary collision and ended up leaving the field in an ambulance. Not only were the two players unable to contribute to the team going forward, but it left their teammates extremely emotional and distressed. Fortunately, this event turned into motivation for the squad, who needed to win both Sunday games to avoid elimination.

“Saturday was a shock to us. Seeing what happened was hard, I had tears in my eyes. A lot of the guys had tears in their eyes . . . Going into Sunday, our choice was either [to] be done, or [to] come back, win two games and continue the season. Going back on that bus Sunday morning, we knew we were going to win. No one on our team ever said anything [possibly losing]. We were going to do it for Nick and for Mark,” said Kalmin.
The team came through on their promise, qualifying for the playoffs and finishing their season with a silver medal, their second highest ranking since winning the gold in 2008.

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