It had been four years since the McGill Redmen baseball team won the final game of its season, but they were able to do just that Sunday afternoon, beating Concordia 6-1 in the CCBA National Championship Final.This is the fourth national title in team history and the first since 2010.
McGill finished the season-ending tournament with an overall record of 4-1, its only loss coming against the Université de Montréal Carabins in the final game of round robin play. The depth that led the Redmen to the top of the standings in the regular season was on full display during the tournament. The team’s pitchers were dominant throughout, and staff ace Ryan Kramer was not forced into action until the tournament semifinal.
Kramer struck out 13 Carabins hitters in the semifinal game on his way to a complete-game shutout. The Redmen had plenty of fresh arms left for the final against Concordia, and elected to start left-handed Tim Jones. He was also able to go the distance, tossing a complete game on 114 pitches, 79 of which were strikes, against a tough Concordia offence.
McGill’s offence came from familiar sources; standouts such as Jamie Fuoco, Rob Sedin, and Tyler Welence continued to post big numbers in tournament play. Welence, a fixture at the top of the Redmen lineup, batted .529 over the course of the five games, and was named tournament MVP.
For certain players, the championship marks the end of their McGill career. For senior starting pitcher Elliott Ariganello, it is a fulfilling reward after four years of hard work for the team on the field and the program as a whole.
“The program has changed considerably over my time with the team,” Ariganello said. “A new and committed coaching staff, a continuous supply of high level players, and increasing support from McGill Athletics have all contributed to a drastic culture change within the team that is now exclusively focused on winning National Championships.”
As far as games to end a career on, they can’t be scripted much better than this. McGill sealed the victory on their home field, and did so against a team that had regularly defeated the Redmen over the past few seasons. In fact, just a few weeks ago, the Redmen fell to Concordia in the CCBA Northern Conference Finals. Early into Sunday afternoon’s game, however, it was clear that McGill would not be finishing behind the Stingers for a second time this season. The Redmen scored early, took the lead in the second inning, and never looked back.
The CCBA season is a short one, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way for players. In just under two months, McGill has played more than 30 games. By winning their most important game of the year, the Redmen have ensured that any sacrifices made along the way were more than worth it in the long haul.
“There were definitely many ups and downs throughout my time with the Redmen, both personally and as a program. But being to hoist that championship trophy at the end of it all made every sacrifice worthwhile,” Ariganello said. “Being able to do so while Concordia looked on from their dugout made it all that much sweeter.”