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Stingers pitched out of CIBA National Championship

by Julian Mei October 25, 2011
Stingers pitched out of CIBA National Championship

It would be unfair to call the Concordia Stingers baseball team’s 2011 season a disappointment. Rather, it was a very successful season that happened to come to a disappointing end.
Playing at the CIBA National Championship in Moncton, N.B., the Stingers had their Cinderella season come to a heartbreaking close in the semi-finals against the Durham College Lords.
Similar to what happened in the conference finals against Carleton, Concordia ran into a pitcher tossing the game of his life.
Shaun Slemko carried the Lords on his arm all the way to a 3-2 victory over the hard-hitting Stingers.
Slemko struck out 11 Stingers in his complete game victory. He allowed only five hits, and neither of the Stingers’ two runs were earned.
Andre Lagarde pitched a fine game as well for the Stingers, allowing just three earned runs on seven hits to go along with six strikeouts; Slemko was just better.
Lagarde allowed two runs in the bottom of the third inning, on three hits, but his teammates were there to pick him up.
Marco Masciotra reached first base on an error to lead off the top of the fourth inning for Concordia, and Martin Chambers followed with a walk. With two outs, Tim Riley singled and loaded the bases for catcher Marshall Johnston.
Johnston, playing in what would prove to be his final game with the Stingers, came through and singled in two runs, tying the game.
Durham got the run back in the fifth, though. After inducing a double-play, Lagarde gave up a two-out double. After an intentional walk, James Wakutz stepped up to the plate and delivered a dagger right into the centre of the Stingers’ hearts.
Wakutz singled in what proved to be the winning run. Concordia only managed one runner in the final three innings, and never had any one past first base.
Durham went on to defeat Humber College, 6-1, in the national championship game.
This year’s tournament was remarkably competitive. Every game the Stingers played was decided by a single run.
Concordia opened the round-robin tournament with a 4-3 comeback win over the Cape Breton Capers, after trailing 3-0 in the sixth inning.
Leading Durham 5-2 in the final inning of the second game, it was the Stingers who squandered a late lead, and eventually lost 6-5 in extra innings.
Wanting to control their own fate in the final round-robin game, Concordia gave the ball to Matthew Jacobson, hoping the big right-hander could carry Concordia into the semi-finals.
Jacobson delivered. He pitched a complete game shutout, allowing only five hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts.
The 1-0 win propelled Concordia into the semis and the subsequent defeat.
Even though they came home without a championship pennant, Stingers players and coaches were proud of what they accomplished this year.
“I”m unbelievably proud of our guys,” said manager Howard Schwartz. “[After the loss] I just told them how proud I was of how they played all season.”
“My four seasons as a Stinger were the best years of my baseball career,” said Jacobson.
The team, by all preseason expectations, overachieved. Nonetheless, coming so close only to fall short will leave the Stingers anxious for next season, hoping to reclaim the feeling of 2009, when they reached the summit of the CIBA.
Pitcher Alex Kechayan was named Pitcher of the Year while Matthew Jacobson was named All-Canadian Tournament All-Star Pitcher.

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