After Two Years of Unofficial Play, Concordia Baseball Makes its Return
Thanks to the cancellation of the season at the beginning of the pandemic, the Stingers’ Varsity 2 baseball program was left barren in 2020.
In 2021, a collection of thrown-together exhibition games felt like a consolation from the year prior, yet still lacked a competitive edge. In 2022, however, the program is undergoing a well-deserved rejuvenation.
“We got into [Ontario University Athletics] this year,” said Stingers’ head coach Howard Schwartz. “We’re still not a hundred per cent sure whether we are going to be permitted to play in their regional play-downs and championships, but we’re in now. So, we’re going to be playing some good competition in Ontario.”
League play is only one of two positive progressions for Concordia baseball. According to coach Schwartz, he team will be participating in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec during the 2023-24 campaign.
Going forward with this year’s format, there will be approximately 30 games played. This number of scheduled games doesn’t include playoffs and potential invitational tournaments throughout the year. Coach Schwartz said this designed plan is a “dry-run from what is to come next year.”
“Having a real season this year is going to make a big difference,” said Stingers infielder Jarod Pita. Pita himself is one of the veterans on the team who has undoubtedly experienced the tribulations that have come from playing, or rather the little to no play at all, during the era of COVID-19.
“We’ve been a core group of guys as long as I’ve been here, and so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what we can do,” said Pita.
The Stingers’ roster features a sound group of dynamic veteran players; this is in addition to the talented collection of rookies coach Schwartz has worked to bring in.
“We’ve got a lot of new guys this year that really filled what we saw as holes last year [...],” said coach Schwartz. “And now, we see already through our practices that a lot of these [holes] have filled up.”
The newer players have bonded well with the more experienced ones. Coach Schwartz has gone as far as to say that “the new kids have fit in from day one.”
This chemistry has to be credited to the background of the first-years. Players who partake in high-level competitions tend to benefit from elite coaching, along with understanding what is expected of them when they transition to a new team in a foreign environment.
One of these solid ballplayers is third baseman/shortstop Corrin Chapeskie. Chapeskie comes from Sydney “by the sea”, British Columbia. He has taken part in notable baseball organizations such as the BC Premier Baseball League, a prominent one that has aided the growth of baseball in the province since its founding in 1995.
Another of the many players who coach Schwartz spoke highly of was centre fielder Nathan Lavoie. Lavoie, a Quebec native, has also played in significant baseball affiliations such as the Académie de baseball, and the Ligue de Baseball Junior Elite du Québec.
“Because the guys understand that it’s next year that everything is going to suddenly become what it’s supposed to be, I think they are a little more encouraged, a little more excited about playing,” said coach Schwartz. “I’m happy, it’s a great bunch of kids.”
The Stingers' season is underway, with their next exhibition match set against McGill on Sept. 6. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.