Traditions and history have to begin somewhere and at some time, and this was the case last week when Sacred Heart entered into the New Zealand Secondary Schools Senior Baseball National Tournament for the very first time.
Baseball has been played at Sacred Heart for just the last five years, and it was the plan back in 2011, that the then group of Year 9 keen and talented Baseballers would develop into a competitive unit and enter the National Champs in 2016.
Like all sports and activities here at the College in Term 1, there was a fair bit of juggling for the players in the squad to balance their various commitments, and at one stage in the leadup to the tournament, there was a feeling that we were perhaps a tad undercooked, however come Tournament time, it all came together and the boys have done themselves and the College proud!
After a tough round-robin of five games, recording three wins and two narrow losses, Sacred qualified for the Semi-finals, and faced Auckland Grammar.
Sacred got off to a strong start and held the lead for the first few innings, Grammar then equalised and took the lead, with their team of Club Baseballers and Softballers hitting well through numbers 1 – 9, and we were unable to pull the lead back, losing the game and heading off to the 3rd– 4th playoff match.
As a wise man once said – ‘no one likes 3rd and 4th playoff games, in fact they suck, but I tell you this…having won them and lost them…it sure feels much better at the end of the tournament to finish third with a win, than losing and getting fourth, walking away with your head down…’ and with this classic motivational quote in mind, we went out and clinically dismantled our neighbours Glendowie (a very strong Baseball school), 12 – 4 in the playoff game, finishing the game with a double play out at second then first base that would have appeared on the MLB plays of the week reel.
As is the way with sport – Grammar went on to lose the final to Botany Downs College. Botany only lost one game all week, and that was to us on Day 1 of the tournament, so it goes to show just how competitive the tournament was, and how close Sacred came to being National Champs.
So history has been made by our Sacred Heart College Baseball team in 2016, the first time we have enter the Nationals, and a hard fought, well deserved 3rd place to be proud of.
Congratulations to the entire squad, with special mention to Elliot Johnstone and Hoskins Sotutu who were selected in the Tournament Team.
Sacred Heart Premier Baseball 2016
Dong Jun Ahn
Coach: Mr Gus Leger
Manager: Mr John Sullivan