HAMILTON, Ont. – The Brock Badgers set the pace in OUA baseball this season on the field and in the awards voting. After putting together a near perfect regular season, five Badgers players were named OUA first and second-team all-stars and two of its players took home major individual awards. The Guelph Gryphons and Laurier Golden Hawks, two teams also contending for a championship, are well represented with four and three players, respectively, making either the first or second team.
OUA Major Award Winners
OUA Top Hitter/First-Team All-Star (Right Field): Justin Gideon (Pickering, Ont.) – Brock Badgers
The Badgers second-year outfielder takes home OUA Top Hitter honours and a First-Team All-Star selection after putting together a stat line that would make Ted Williams jealous. Gideon batted .469 good for second in OUA. He added two homeruns and 16 RBI while leading the league in hits (30), triples (5), and total bases (52). The Pickering, Ont. native was also a headache for opponents on the base paths, leading the league with 18 stolen bases. He appeared in all 18 of Brock's games and hit safely in all but one; eight times he had multi-hit games including five games of three hits.
OUA Top Pitcher/First-Team All-Star (Starting Pitcher): Justin Ayles (Brampton, Ont.) – Brock Badgers
It's a dream season for a pitcher when you throw 32 innings and can count your earned runs allowed on one hand and still have three fingers left over. Yet that was the reality for the Badgers fifth-year pitcher. Ayles led the league with five wins, while throwing two complete games in his five starts. In 32 innings pitched, he allowed just two earned runs and six runs total, good for a 0.56 ERA. He also recorded 27 strikeouts against just five walks and won each of his starts, setting a school record for career wins. It is Ayles first all-star honour since he was named to the first-team as a relief pitcher in 2010.
OUA Rookie of the Year: Austin O'Boyle (Toronto, Ont.) – Queen's Gaels – Infield
Even though they missed the playoffs, the Gaels have plenty of reasons to be excited about the future after watching the year O'Boyle put together. In just his first OUA season, O'Boyle led his team in batting average hitting .391 while appearing in all 18 games. Showing his maturity at the plate, he drew six walks while striking out just eight times in 69 at-bats. He hit one homerun to go along with 14 runs scored, 13 RBI, and five stolen bases.
OUA Coach of the Year: Jeff Lounsbury – Brock Badgers
In his 19th year with the Brock baseball program, Lounsbury led his team to an almost perfect 17-1 OUA regular season record and has his team as the pre-tournament favourites heading into championship weekend. This is the third time since 2005 that Lounsbury has won OUA Coach of the Year, the most recent honour coming in 2012.
OUA First-Team All-Stars
Catcher: Tanner Young-Schultz (Stratford, Ont.) – Toronto Varsity Blues
It's often said in baseball that a catcher's job is defence and the offence is a bonus; the Varsity Blues got both from Young-Schultz who put together a tremendous season on both sides of the plate. Allowing just one passed ball all season and throwing out 25 per cent of runners trying to steal, Young-Schultz was even more impressive with the bat in his hand, finishing the season with a .388 batting average and .642 slugging percentage. He finished tied for second in OUA with three homeruns, tied for third in runs scored with 20, and third in RBI with 22.
First Base: Kyle Westwater (Campbellville, Ont.) – Guelph Gryphons
The Gryphons first baseman put together a complete season at the plate, hitting for both average and power and was a huge part of a lineup that led OUA in runs scored. Westwater batted .356 and drew almost as many walks (7) as strikeouts (8). He finished tied for second in homeruns with three and was fourth in the conference with 20 RBI.
Second Base: Bradley Bedford (Burlington, Ont.) – Toronto Varsity Blues
It was a strong finish for Bedford, closing the season with eight hits, three walks, and nine RBI in his final five games. There was no one in the conference better at getting on base than Bedford, who led the league with a .531 on-base percentage. His .457 batting average ranked him third in OUA, and added 13 RBI, 15 runs scored, and six stolen bases.
Shortstop: Phil Steer (Toronto, Ont.) – Brock Badgers
For the second consecutive year, Steer has been named a first-team all-star – a feat made more impressive when you consider he's only played two OUA seasons. Already one of the leaders on the Badgers, he hit for a .348 average to go along with 12 RBI, 14 runs, and finished third in OUA with 15 stolen bases. Defensively, Steer ranked second in the league assisting on 42 outs and posted a .923 fielding percentage.
Third Base: Michael Clouthier (Guelph, Ont.) – Waterloo
Last year's OUA Rookie of the Year continued his transformation into one of the league's best players and is a big reason the Warriors are contending for a championship. Clouthier appears near the top of most offensive statistical categories, ranking second in hits (28), doubles (7), triples (2), homeruns (3), RBI (23), slugging percentage (.727) and total bases (48). He also made two relief appearances, picking up two saves as a pitcher which ranked second in the league.
Left Field: Wes Romak (London, Ont.) – Guelph
Making appearances as an outfielder, first baseman, and pitcher, Romak did a little bit of everything for Guelph. Even more impressive than his durability was his consistency as he recorded a hit in all but one of the 16 games he appeared in. At the plate he had a well-rounded season with a .386 batting average, two homeruns, 18 RBI, 17 runs, and eight stolen bases.
Centre Field: Peter Ricciardi (Pickering, Ont.) – Guelph
It is a second consecutive first-team selection for Ricciardi who put together another strong season with the Gryphons. Getting the job done both at the plate and in the field, Ricciardi boasted a sterling .979 fielding percentage to go a long with a .317 batting average and 19 runs scored.
Designated Hitter: Jake Chiaravalle (Hamilton, Ont.) – McMaster
Despite his team's struggles, Chiaravalle put up some very impressive numbers this season and led the Marauders in most offensive categories. He hit for both average and power, posting a batting average of .447 and a .723 slugging percentage that ranked third in the conference. He also led the team with two home runs and 16 RBI, despite missing the final four games of the season.
Relief Pitcher: Phil Owen (Richmond Hill, Ont.) – Brock
Like his teammate Phil Steer, it's the second year in a row that Owen has been named a first-team all-star. Pitching 10 innings in eight appearances, Owen managed to grab three wins and a league-leading four saves. In the process, he became the school's all-time saves leader and allowed just one run in his 10 innings pitched while striking out 10 batters.
OUA Second-Team All-Stars
Catcher – Justin Interisano (Guelph, Ont.) - Guelph
First base – Kyle Bowers (Toronto, Ont.) - Toronto
Second base – Dan Nicoletta (Newmarket, Ont.) - Brock
Short stop – Nolan Pettpiece (Burlington, Ont.) - Waterloo
Third base – Turner Spears (Guelph, Ont.) - Western
Left field – Kyle Thalheimer (Richmond Hill, Ont.) - Waterloo
Right field – Alex Kupchak (Oakville, Ont.) - Laurier
Centre field – Jonathan Brouse (Port Perry, Ont.) - Laurier
Designated hitter – Adam Odd (Mississauga, Ont.) - Toronto
Starting pitcher – Brett van Pelt (Whitby, Ont.) - Laurier
Relief pitcher – Jordan Skavinsky (Saddy, Ont.) - Western