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'Big night for Newmarket': Hawks are national baseball champions

'We hope that this inspires kids to reach for the stars,' 22U AAA Newmarket Hawks general manager says after 3-1 win in gold medal game
2022-08-08-Newmarket Baseball-JQ
The 22U AAA Newmarket Hawks celebrate after winning a national title in Halifax Aug. 7.

For the first time, the Newmarket Baseball Association has a national champion.

The Newmarket 22U AAA Newmarket Hawks emerged victorious at Baseball Canada’s National 22U Men’s chamionships Aug. 7, with a 3-1 win in the gold medal game in Halifax.

Team general manager Rob Hums said the win is big for the local sports organization.

“We’re a grassroots, community, volunteer association trying to provide baseball at all levels,” he said. “We hope that this inspires kids to reach for the stars, and you can stay local and achieve these things."

The team jumped out to an early lead in the final game, going up 2-0 in the second inning. Pitcher Logan McKnight held the host Dartmouth team to one run the rest of the way, earning pitcher of the tournament and finals MVP honours as his team won 3-1.

Coach Doug Lunney said the team was like a family. 

“The close-knit nature of the team and how even players who weren’t playing on the field were so into it and so supportive,” he said. “I would say pitching and defence was our key to success, but some timely hitting in the last day in the semi-finals and finals was pretty big as well.” 

The team bested seven others from across Canada to come home with the national title, after qualifying as one of two teams from Ontario in provincials. The team started the tournament 1-2 in round-robin play but rebounded with four straight wins to become champions.

“It was a crazy experience,” shortstop Reid Lunney said. “It really just means that we’re the best team in Canada. It’s definitely a crazy feeling.”

Plenty from across Newmarket tuned into the stream of the games, available through the High Button Sports Youtube. Newmarket Mayor John Taylor offered congratulations.

“What a big night for Newmarket,” he said on Facebook. “I watched the game on YouTube and it was incredible. So proud of this group of young men. This will be a memory of a lifetime for them. Congrats to all the coaches and parents.”

The team got messages from supporters watching across the world, Hums said.

“It’s hard to believe that it happened,” he said. “The boys deserve it and they earned it. It’s obviously an incredible feeling. We’re so proud of the boys and we’re so proud to represent Newmarket baseball.” 

Many players will be returning to play baseball at their post-secondary institutions. Although the team will have three graduating players — Ethan Murdy, Logan McKnight and Jordan Howse — most will still be eligible to play again next year. Hums said they hope to keep as much of the team together as possible.

Coach Lunney said the celebration was great, with families and players gathering on the field. He said the win puts Newmarket on the map for baseball.

“For Newmarket, it really solidifies the program that has been put together there, not only for the junior team, but I think for the younger kids,” he said. “It means a lot.”