Highway 401 to Windsor is a road well travelled for the York Lions Baseball Team, but this weeks trip down the Highway of Heros will be marked with much anticipation from the young club as they will make their first trip to the National Championships since 2005. The roster has turned over many times since boasting the likes of All Canadian Team Members Ellison Bautista-Chan (2B) and Rob Vechairelli (P/3B). In those days, now manager Scot Angus was one year removed from his playing days at York and had just joined the coaching staff in an assisting role before taking over the reigns full time part way through the 2006 season. Back in 2005 they conquered their long time rivals the Durham College Lords in the semi-finals to advance to the championship game agains the host Cape Breton University Capers. On the bitterly cold Atlantic coast the Lions lost the championship game in a 1-0 nail biter.
This seasons cast rides into Windsor eagerly awaiting their opportunity to test their metal against the Nations best. The teams hope ride high on recent stellar pitching performances from Jimmy Troung, Michael Asta and Ryan Hayward. The team has been bolstered by an influx of capable pitchers this year. The Lions have not had depth on the mound since their last trip to the Nationals and look to use that as an advantage going into this weekends championship. Newcomers Michael Gryschuck, Brandon Gryschuck, Kevin Irandoust and Tyler LeBlanc are all poised and ready to take the hill to shut down opposing hitters. The Lions’ offence has been led this year by Will Bargel (RF/2B), Dylan Soares (DH/LF) and Ryan Heyward (SS) who have come through with clutch at bats all season. These guys take a professional approach to the plate each at bat, providing the ability to ignite rallies and cash in runners on base. Defensively York has leaned on 5th Year veteran Daniel Bay in centre field, young blood Stephen Ranalli coming into form on the left side of the infield and Ravi Grewal accepting utility duties with calm steady defence to get the job done wherever necessary. Catching has been a definite area of improvement this season with Daniel “The Tombstone” DeBenedictis spending more time as steady back stop and Jhoan Falcon Gonzalves intimidating runners with his arm keeping opposing caters on edge with his quickness on the basepaths.
All in all, the team is prepared to challenge at the next level. The coaching staff is proud of the steps the team has taken this season andis excited that this weekend will be the beginning of bringing new tradition to the ball club.
Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome. ~ Arthur Ashe
LIONS ~ FAMILY ~ PRIDE