Hearts were broken at LaSalle Park on Monday night as the Concordia baseball team dropped the second game of their best of three series to Laval by a 3-1 score, eliminating them from playoff contention.
It marked the fifth time in the last six years the Stingers have been eliminated by the arch-rival Rouge et Or.
“Tonight was tough,” Jamieson Boulanger, who pitched in Game One said. “The close one’s like that are really tough.”
Game one of the series, which took place last Friday, was a complete wash as the Stingers were decimated by a score of 8-0.
The most stunning numbers in that game had less to do with Laval’s offence and were more a result of the 13 strikeouts thrown by Laval’s Charles Tasiaux.
The series was scheduled to finish on Saturday with Games Two and Three, if necessary, but they were rained out until Monday.
The events that transpired in the do or die game were nothing remotely similar to those of the first. Concordia was backed up by a sensational pitching performance from Nat Thomas who, despite all his best efforts, couldn’t keep his team alive.
“Tonight was a bit of a heartbreaker for us. We’re still a young team and we made some bad choices,” said Thomas.
As playoff games go, this was one of the hardest kind to watch, as Concordia looked to have things wrapped up with a late 1-0 lead going into the sixth inning.
That’s when the wheels fell off, although it’s hard to figure who loosened them in the first place.
Concordia jumped out to their 1-0 lead after Thomas helped his own cause by drawing a walk that got him to first.
A sacrifice bunt by Matt Arthur followed and advanced Thomas to second base.
From there a pair of wild pitches would allow Thomas to run into home for the early lead.
Both pitchers continued to duel their way through another pair of scoreless innings until the sixth when Laval tied the game.
There was a highly questionable Thomas pitch ruled as a ball, when nearly everyone but the umpire saw it as a strike, the batter then hit a shot to do deep left center to put him on second. A sac-bunt and sac-fly would then get the runner to come in for the score.
“That was our TSN turning point right there,” Doug Noftall, assistant coach, said.
The most crucial of errors in the seventh inning would give the Rouge et Or the chance to take control of the game. They didn’t miss that chance.
With a runner on second base the Stingers infield decided to have a meeting at the pitcher’s mound.
Unfortunately, no one on the team called for a time-out and the runner was allowed to steal third with only one out on the board. Laval took advantage with yet another sac bunt that brought in the run for a crucial 2-1 lead.
However, Laval wasn’t done, as another big hit brought in the runner from second for a commanding and ultimately insurmountable 3-1 edge.
The Maroon and Gold’s last shot at survival came off the bat of none other than Thomas, who drilled a double down the right field line, finishing with two of his team’s four hits of the night.
Concordia’s next batter, however, would prove to be their last of the season as Arthur hit a shot towards first base that was caught for the game ending out.
Despite a tremendous amount of pride in what they accomplished this season there was still a degree of dejection surrounding the team after the loss.
“The reality of that game was that those guys are defending National champs and their team is stacked. We’re disappointed with the result but we can’t be disappointed with effort those guys put out there tonight,” said Noftall.