Season preview for Rams fifth season
TORONTO - Saturday, September 9th is the opening day for the Ryerson Rams baseball team. As the team begins it’s fifth season, they will look to have a good fast start out of the gate which is imperative in a shortened four-week season.
The Rams team faced their first challenge this past weekend playing in the Mini Blue Tournament hosted by the University of Toronto. Ryerson held their own against McGill and Laurier and was able to come away with a well earned split.
“It was a good preparation weekend for us. We showed some resilience in playing much better baseball in game two, particularly when it comes to creating scoring opportunities” said head coach Ben Rich. “The key is for the players to learn from this weekend...take what we did well and replicate it. Take where we need to improve and work towards that.”
The Rams come into the season with two frontline veteran starters, Quinn Cumming and Caleb King, that can stack up against any team in the league. Both starters had strong final performances this weekend and are ready to the opening weekend against McMaster. They also boast one of the deepest outfields in the league and have two excellent receivers, Chris Aubin and Jon Fagnola behind the plate.
The Rams recruited four new players in the offseason. Quinn Collins and Phil Seguin were added up the middle with a focus on defence and have made some excellent plays in exhibition play. Aidan Dolan joins Pete Apostolopoulos at first base and has already shown his team the type of power he has at the plate.
The Rams were able to add more depth to the roster from open tryouts on August 29th. They added Anthony Fera, who provides another powerful bat in the lineup and second baseman Sam Munro who put on an offensive display against the Laurier Golden Hawks on the weekend. Also, outfielder Justin Pearlston who adds to an already impressive Rams outfield and catcher Kenji Nakanishi provides further insurance behind the plate.
“This was one of the strongest years in terms of number of quality players at the open tryouts. It is a sign of how far the program has come in such a short period of time, the popularity of baseball at the OUA level, and bodes well for the program in the future,” says Rich.
An area of the team that is still developing is the pitching staff for the Rams. Ryerson lost top starter Charlie Crabb and closer Allan Perkins to graduation. In the offseason the Rams added left-handed pitcher Matt MacDowell to an all right-handed pitching staff. Coach Rich indicates that the pitching is still a work in progress. “Still working on sorting out the bullpen,” says Rich. “We lost our #1 reliever to graduation, so there's an opportunity for players to step up and be the guy who wants the ball in a one-run game.”
The league is stacked with perennial power houses like the Western Mustangs, Laurier Golden Hawks and the Brock Badgers. However, this year University of Toronto Varsity Blues and Guelph Gryphons look to be formidable with their deep and talented rosters.
The key to success for the Rams will be about focusing on basics and fundamentals in every game. Coach Rich says “Regardless of who we play, it's always throw first pitch strikes, have a good approach at the plate, and make the play that is in front of you.”
The season starts Saturday, September 9th at 12 pm. The Ryerson Rams will host the McMaster Marauders at Stan Wadlow Park. Play ball!