As someone who spent most of their time at Seasac at the water dispensers, I had a lot of time to observe, reflect and soak in the hot, unforgettable but still very hot experience at Seasac Softball 2016.
The U19 boys jumped on a plane headed to the British School, Jakarta. We were all pumped and ebullient which makes for very tired coaches. After about three to four hours of non-stop laughter, talk and window breaking singing, we made it to our hotel. We had some time to kill and thus went to the mall for a team lunch. We bonded over some ridiculously expensive fish and chips and couldn’t wait for the tournament to begin.
Fast-forward to the next morning when we arrived at the luxurious, massive and extravagant BSJ campus with more energy in our bodies that it was probably unhealthy. Our first game was against the host themselves. We had a loud and enthusiastic warm up before huddling together for a team talk held by our very strong, scary and MVP captain Tej. After somewhat intimidating the opposition we took our position in the field and played ball. We got off to a flying start with one of our senior’s Mark Jalleh who set the example by hitting a grand slam home run getting not only himself home but three other runners as well. I’m not sure if there’s a nice way to put it but in my opinion, we absolutely annihilated our opponents winning by the mercy rule on a score of 16-0.
Feeling elated and ecstatic we had our heads up high going into the next game… MKIS.
They were probably our biggest competition in the whole tournament and eventually went on to be crowned champions. Confident but nervous we focused on to our opponents and vowed to bring on our A game. The game turned out to be the most entertaining game in the whole competition. Neck to neck throughout the 7 innings and both teams played amazingly. However, things started to turn to our favour when out of nowhere Jack Allan jumped over the fence, putting his whole career on the line to make a diving catch which gave the team the energy and spirit we needed to win. As if almost breaking his back wasn’t enough, Jack caught the ball out deep in center field and to everyone’s surprise launched a perfect throw all the way back to first base where Daan Havemann made the double play. But what kind of game would it be without Tej hitting a home run, he was an expensive player to have on the team as he kept hitting the ball out of the park. Not to mention that he hit 7 home runs in the entire tournament. To add just a bit more spice to the game, MKIS could score a run to tie or we could catch them out and win the game. There was an eerie moment of silence as the batsman stepped up to the plate, we bent down a little lower, looked a little sharper and then Adithya pitched the ball…‘SLAM!’ right out into the left field. Before I continue, if anybody reading has any severe or threatening heart conditions please stop reading or otherwise at your own risk. Anyway, it looked to be a reasonably easy catch for Mark to make but the ball bounced out of his glove and our coach Sam was basically holding his heart in his hands. Luckily just as the ball was about to hit the ground, Mark recovered and still managed to catch in time to win us the game 13-12.
Ecstatic, buoyant and relieved we moved on to our next game with a good reputation and a confident mindset. We were set up to play ISY in the last game of the day. We were still high on life after the last win but we desperately wanted to end to last game on a high note. Just like the saying we wanted ‘ three up, three down’. However, I don’t remember much of the game to be honest (because we lost) but what I did remember was Tej putting his goalkeeping skills to good use making an acrobatic catch which left everyone with their mouth’s open. In fairness, ISY played a much better game than we did, they batted well and they managed to restrict our batters to not batting too hard. However, Tej did hit two home runs in that game but that was fairly normal by that time. We ended up losing 18-9, but we were still decently happy and forgot all about it when we got back to the hotel.
Day two was a big day for us, It decided whether we made it to the semi-final as well as playing the semi-final itself. We started the day off with another relatively easy game against a 9 men Alice Smith team. We yet again won by the mercy rule but this time with a score of 22-3. After taking a tough loss we did not want to lose another game and kept that mindset going into the last group stage game against CDNIS. Another interesting game but yet again Garden came out on top. With solid plays from both the outfield and infield. Honourable mentions to our young Brazilian talent and future GIS star Rafael Ito who came up big when we needed it most collaborating with Riki, Aashish and Daan making lots of double plays. Talking about Aashish, his twin brother Akhil bossed the outfield with consistent and confident catches calling the plays and always just being loud. Another Brazilian, Seth came into Seasac with little prior training but came up just shy of a home run on multiple occasions. We ended up winning that game 12-6.
What happened after blew my mind. It was like the Penrose Triangle, we were chilling in the cafe when MKIS came up and told us they beat ISY. So essentially what happened was we beat MKIS and they beat ISY but we lost to ISY. This meant that we finished third overall in the group stages and we had to play ISY again in the semis. You know how I said it was super hot, well suddenly, rain started pouring down and the game got called off. All that happened in as short a period as the sentence above. Gutted that the semis got cancelled, we headed under cover and started bonding with the other teams. It was pretty magical that five minutes ago we were at each other’s throats and then we started talking like we knew each other for years. GIS ended up taking home the sportsmanship award for saving everybody’s time and accepting our semi-final defeat.
On the Sunday morning which was also our last morning in Jakarta, we had one more game left to play. It was against CDNIS for a third place finish. Bearing in mind that it was our last Seasac match, we wanted to have fun but to also win. We went out onto the field with a lot of positive energy which we obviously transferred into kinetic energy. The first innings was unbelievable, CDNIS hit two home runs and managed to score 6 points. It wasn’t only them who thought they had a good innings, we did too. Feeling the pressure, we went into the stands and got ready to bat and guess what, we scored 6 runs too. After that, it was full defence from both teams, which multiple ‘three up, three down’ innings, the game looked really undecided. But then Tej stepped up to the plate and score another home run which pushed us to score another 6 more runs and we finished the game 12-7.
Overall, we were happy, grateful and humbled for finishing third. We had a memorable experience and we can’t wait to go again next year. I would like to finish off by saying thank you to our coach Mr. Sam Bottom for being a supportive, funny and overall outstanding coach. We would also like to thank Mr.Ruscoe for herding us around, keeping us sharp and organized. Also, a significant figure in our team Shunsuke Fujita fell sick the night before we left and didn’t end up coming, this caused a lot of emotional damage and pandemonium throughout our team especially with Riki as no one would play Puzzles and Dragons with him. On behalf of the team, we would like to wish the best of luck to Tej and Mark as this was their last Seasac and hope they continue to practice their craft in university.