As the McGill Redmen baseball team’s season nears its end, so too does the career of senior starting pitcher Elliott Ariganello.
With the Canadian Collegiate Baseball Assocation (CCBA) Northern Conference Championship this weekend, and the CCBA National Championship the following weekend–which McGill will host–Ariganello has an opportunity to go out on a high note.
This season has been one of the strongest in recent memory for the Redmen. The team finished 14-6, placing first in the conference, and swept Carleton in the opening round of the playoffs. Following an injury-plagued 2013 campaign, Ariganello has been a key cog in a starting rotation that has dominated opponents all season as well as a leader both on and off the field. The fact that Ariganello’s time with the Redmen is coming to a close is not lost on him.
“It’s somewhat of a bittersweet feeling for me going into Nationals this year.” Ariganello said. “Getting an opportunity to compete for the National Championship is obviously unbelievable, but knowing I’ll have to leave my great teammates and this game behind at the end of the year is definitely something that’s weighing on me. I’ve been with this team for a long time now, and I’m thankful for everything it has given me over the years. All I can do now is give it everything I’ve got left to help us win a National Championship.”
Unlike the majority of McGill varsity teams, the baseball team plays its home games off-campus. Weekend doubleheaders regularly turn into nine-hour days at Gary Carter Field in Côte Saint-Luc. The nature of a short Fall season means that McGill often plays two games each Saturday and Sunday from early September until mid-October. Ariganello has learned how to manage his time wisely, but admits that it does not really get much easier over the years.
“It’s definitely a grind during midterm season,” he explained. “Four to six games a week plus practices doesn’t really leave you with much time for the library. It certainly doesn’t help that we don’t have a diamond on or even near campus. I’ve been fortunate to have had success balancing athletics and academics during my time at McGill, and as a senior, I’ve tried to help the younger guys figure out how to do it as well.”
Ariganello is a mentor for the younger Redmen, which he hardly could have predicted four years ago when he was in their place. In fact, Ariganello came close to not attending McGill at all. Following high school, he took a year off to travel, but had made no plans about his future prior to embarking on his trip.
“I was in Barcelona when I received an email from my high school guidance counsellor reminding me that I needed to apply to universities or [I’d] miss the deadline,” Ariganello explained. “I decided on McGill while in Morocco a couple months later, and haven’t looked back since.”
Had he not taken a year off, Ariganello may have been part of the Redmen squad that won the 2010 National Championship. Instead, he’s had the chance to carve out his own legacy, and if things break right, he’ll be able to add a National Championship to that list of accomplishments.
McGill Tribune (MT): Which TV shows have you been watching lately?
Elliott Ariganello (EA): I’ve been getting into Seinfeld actually.
(MT): Favourite spot for food on campus?
(EA): I know it’s across the street, but I have to say Super Sandwich.
(MT): Favourite meal of the day?
(MT): What’s your walk-up song right now?
(EA): Work by Gangstarr.
(MT): Favourite baseball player of all time?
(EA): Roy Halladay.
(MT): Tim Horton’s or Première Moisson?
(EA): Bring back Timmy’s.