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Stingers’ look to build on 2013 success

by Matthew Shanahan April 1, 2014
Stingers’ look to build on 2013 success

Despite losing the Nationals, Concordia’s baseball club displayed a lot of character

The Concordia Stingers baseball season did not have the end they had hoped for in the 2013 season, but nonetheless exceeded expectations, considering they had a young roster.

A team that consisted of 14 rookies, manager Howie Schwartz was proud that his team was able to land a spot in the National Championship Final.

“There’s nothing we could’ve done differently so we can’t worry about it,” Schwartz said. “It’s one of the best seasons I’ve ever experienced.”

The young Stingers’ ball club were solid all season long, tallying 13 wins and only 3 losses in the regular season. They swept both their league playoff series en route to the National Championship in Windsor, Ontario. First they beat cross-city rival, the Montreal’s Carabins, in the semi-final before knocking off the Carleton Rivals in the finals. The win meant the Stingers would once again face the Ravens in Windsor.

At the Nationals, they cruised to the final going 2-1 in the Round Robin, knocking off the Ravens once more in a tight semi-final matchup. But the Stingers’ club then lost 1-0 to the hometown Windsor Lancers in a heated nine-inning battle that could have gone either way.

Despite not getting what they had hoped for at the Nationals, there’s no debating the Concordia ball club will come out even hungrier next year.

With all starters returning, and the rookies taking a step closer to become veterans on the team, Schwartz is sure that the team will be better in the coming year, and expects breakout years from some promising young individuals, notably pitcher Sam Belisle-Springer.

“Everything this kid has been asked to do, he’s able to come through. He’s young and looks like he’s in secondary two but he radiates confidence,” Schwartz said. “He’s definitely exceeded expectations this past year and I expect him to be a very big part of the pitching rotation this year.”

There are also a couple of new recruits joining the team that hope to make a strong impact for the 2014 season that will hopefully bring the National Championship to Concordia for the first time since 2009. Notably, Jonathan Raftus will make room for a recruit at shortstop as he will likely play centre field next year.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had such a strong defensive core up the middle,” said Schwartz. “It also makes things a lot better when you don’t lose any key players.”

However there is still a long way to go. Players are at the Concordia Stinger Dome on most Saturdays, refining their skills and hoping to get a little bit better and in good shape for the upcoming summer season. The Stingers players play on local teams throughout the summer before returning to Concordia in early September.

The Stingers cannot wait to create some October magic in next year’s Nationals, and they’ll have to do it no further than the confines of their own city as McGill will host the National Championships in 2014.

This past year they played with a lot of character, winning a lot of close games and coming from behind in the final innings. And they plan on carrying that character over to next season.

“We have what it takes to win it all next year,” Schwartz said. “I have high expectations and a lot of confidence in this team.”

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