George Brown baseball closed the 2018 season last week with a convincing sweep of Seneca, and while the program did not qualify for the OCAA Championship this weekend there are many positive signs looking forward.
Game one saw the Huskies explode for seven runs in the second inning off of the Sting starter. Leading the charge offensively were the usual suspects in Anthony Buonaiuto, Brandon Nieva and Robin Fox-Pappas. Each had multi-hit games topped off by a three-hit, two-RBI performance from Buonaiuto.
"These three gentlemen have proven to us over and over again they can be leaned on to carry the bulk of the workload. It was no surprise as they proved that fact true again." Head Coach AJ Wideman said.
Another dominant complete-game win by staff ace John Luke Lamanna was all the Huskies needed as they cruised to a 7-3 victory.
"Being a fifth-year senior, this game was a special one for John. We spoke face to face before the game about what it meant for him to be making his final collegiate start. Like he did in every outing since Iʼve met this young man, he didnʼt disappoint." Wideman said.
Game two brought great entertainment to the park. After another solid performance by Husky starting pitcher David de Cassan, the Sting took the lead in the fith inning 4-3. The lead was quickly erased in the next half by the .306 hitting rookie Tyler Doney driving in the tying run. Tied at four, Joe Giansante took the ball and continued his upward trend for the season. Despite giving up a run, Wideman says Giansante has been one of the pleasant surprises on his staff this season.
"First year players can be tricky to predict at times. As the season went on, Joe quickly proved to us he could handle himself at this level. I look forward to what he can bring us in years to come."
As the game rolled into its final frame, a familiar face came through again for George Brown. For the second consecutive inning, Doney had a crucial hit that gave the Huskies the lead. In the final inning, in his last collegiate appearance, Lamanna took the ball and recorded the save. This marked the first time the George Brown Huskies have ever swept a series.
The 2018 season brought many positives to men's baseball. To start, the pitching staff saw massive strides from the likes of Jack Middleton, Joe Giansante and David de Cassan. The 2018 Club had an impressive seven complete games pitched.
When asked about the pitching, Wideman said, "Getting the quality mileage from the rotation proved to be the major reason in many games to be within a couple runs. This was undoubtedly the biggest difference on our team this season."
George Brown had three pitchers in the Top twelve of innings pitched, including 2018 OCAA leader Lamanna (40).
Included also in franchise firsts, the Huskies recorded their first ever win by mercy when they beat the Durham Lords 14-1 on September 19th at Kinsmen Park. The win saw five players with multi-hit games, including a three-hit, five-RBI showing from Huskies infielder Dallas Pearce.
"That game was special for everyone, but most importantly the select few who have been through some tougher times with this program." Wideman said.
Complementary to the pitching, the Huskies had two rookies in the starting lineup to hit .300. Brandon Nieva and Tyler Doney were both an integral part to the team's improvement. Along with breakout offensive debuts, it gave Wideman a strong left side of the infield which proved invaluable day to day.
"Rookie players are rarely asked to do very much. These two were both exceptional young men who were arguably two of the leagues best rookies." Wideman said. "To hit .300 and play every day in your first full season is an awesome accomplishment."
Coming into 2018, the clubs biggest need was catching. This season saw Robert Stewart and Dallas Pearce split time and hold their own. It made a massive difference in preventing runs, and as noted by the staff, a huge contributor to nearly winning 10 games.
"Catching is the single most important position on the field," Assistant Coach Jordan Wideman said, "The position dictates so many facets of the game every day, and to have these two young men step up and fight well above their weight class was fantastic."
As the League ramps up for OCAA Playoffs next week in Durham and despite being eliminated, the George Brown Huskies take nothing but positives from the season.
"We made a lot of huge strides again and our record was very deceiving. We had some youth really step up and be a bright spot for us. It was great to see. I expect to see this program to take the next step sooner than later." Fox- Pappas said.