By Harlan Nemerofsky
After announcing its first-round cuts, the Ryerson baseball team intends to move forward with its plans of being competitive in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference next season.
The coaching staff deliberated twice before picking a preliminary roster of nine student-athletes who were offered a conditional spot on the roster.
“These players cover all positions on the field and are very capable.
Each of them would challenge for a starting position on most other OUA teams, and some of these individuals could start on top-tier teams,” said head coach Ben Rich.
The final roster will consist of 18 to 22 student athletes. Rich also invited an additional eight players to participate in indoor skills training, although they do not have a conditional spot on the roster. He says that these players showed a strong ability at the tryout, and will benefit from more consistent coaching,
“I wasn’t really expecting anything because Ryerson’s not known for their baseball because we don’t have a [team],” said Brittany Chan, the only female player to try out.
She was one of one of the additional eight invited to indoor skills training.
“But I was surprised [because] we actually had some really decent ballplayers that came out.”
Luis Marquez was one of the select nine to make the team. Marquez tried out for both pitcher and shortstop and said that while he was really thrilled to have made it, he wasn’t surprised.
“At try-outs the coaches said they liked my footwork and some stuff I was doing mechanic-wise so I thought I had a pretty good shot. And if I didn’t make it I knew Ryerson was going to have a pretty good team,” he said.
Stephanie White, Ryerson’s associate director of athletics, said that while Ryerson baseball is headed in the right direction, there are still a lot of pieces that have to fall into place in order to have an OUA team.
“[The first step] is to have the right amount of people committed to playing, and [Ben’s] done pretty well there so far,” says White. “[But] I don’t even know if they’re going to be in the OUA next year. That’s still an open question.”
White said that she’d be open to an exhibition season to build a foundation for the team, referencing the women’s hockey team, who went through three years of probation before making it to the OUA level of competition.
In order to find the money to selffinance a team, Rich is depending on his players. The core nine players will be required to participate in fundraising activities, such as a Ryerson Baseball pub night and the solicitation of donations.
Indoor skills training will begin this January.