Brussels' Sebastian reflects after winning national player of the year honours
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Last Friday, Softball Canada named Ty Sebastian of Brussels as the winner of its Men’s Fast Pitch Athlete of the Year Award after what was another astounding season.
“Sebastian had a great year both internationally and nationally. His season began as a new member of Canada’s Men’s National Team that won the silver medal at the 2022 [World Baseball Softball Confederation] Men’s Softball World Cup in New Zealand,” reads the Softball Canada website. “Ty had two hits, including a home run, and three RBIs filling in at second base late in the tournament, and he made his first appearance in the circle for Team Canada by retiring 12 of 15 batters in a five-inning shutout against South Africa.
“At the 2023 Men’s Canadian Championship, he helped power his 8-0 Toronto Batmen to a Canadian title, pitching a 15-inning shutout in one of the longest finals in tournament history and was named Most Valuable Player of the Preliminary Round and Top Player of the Championship Round for his stellar performance both at the plate and in the pitching circle.”
This is all in addition to his work with his home squad of the Brussels Tigers, who were crowned Huron County Fastball League champions again this year, making their way through the year-end tournament not only undefeated, but not giving up a single run the entire way.
While the work of the entire Brussels Tigers team cannot be denied, national fastball figure Ty Sebastian had another season to remember.
Going into the final weeks of the season, Sebastian had logged over 72 innings pitched and had given up just two earned runs, resulting in a microscopic earned run average (ERA) of 0.19.
On the offensive side of things, Sebastian was also without equal. With just a few weeks left in the regular season, Sebastian had a batting average of .711, registering 32 hits in 45 at-bats, scoring 24 runs, hitting eight home runs and notching 19 runs batted in (RBIs). He struck out just once.
Sebastian has now been the best pitcher in the league for the last eight seasons, which doesn’t include the modified 2021 season, in which statistics were not kept.
Sebastian’s final ERA for 2023 has not yet been calculated, but he will be the season’s top pitcher again. Last year, he had an ERA of 0.14, followed by ERAs of 0.16 in 2019, 0.41 in 2018, 0.28 in 2017, 0.59 in 2016, 0.28 in 2015 and 0.57 in 2014.
Sebastian was the league’s top hitter this season as well, which made it five of the last seven seasons in which statistics were kept.
Sebastian’s average sat at .711 this season, which is above his performance in 2022 with a 0.658 batting average. In 2021, statistics were not kept, but he also led the league in 2019 with an average of .634. Darren Scholl of the Goderich Grizzlies topped the 2018 statistics with an average of .681 and Chayse Herrfort of the Wellesley Wildcats led the league in 2017 with an average of .585. Sebastian was tops in 2016 with an average of .750 and 2015 with an average of .605.
Speaking with The Citizen on Monday, Sebastian said it was a “really good feeling” to hear the news that he’d won such an illustrious award and an appropriate capstone to what was a great season for him.
He said that, looking back on the seasons that were, one memory that remains outstanding is outdueling another of the top pitchers in the country to claim the national title by way of the aforementioned 15-inning, 1-0 victory over the Galway Hitmen from Newfoundland.
As for the future, Sebastian said he’ll be back with the Tigers and Batmen in 2024, but with an eye towards again qualifying to be part of Team Canada over the course of the season as well. This comes ahead of a World Cup and World Games, both scheduled to take part in 2025. The World Cup will be held in Saskatchewan, while the World Games will be played in China.
Through his baseball career, Sebastian has been able to travel to countries like Australia, Argentina, the Dominican Republic and more to play, which he admits has been pretty nice.
However, blurring the lines between his sporting and personal lives, Sebastian says that another amazing thing about the season was having his son Beckham in February. To have his wife Deanna and infant son at so many of his games meant a lot to him.
Baseball training for the young lad hasn’t yet commenced, Sebastian says, but it won’t be far off. “He needs to learn to walk first. Once he can walk, he can learn how to throw,” Sebastian said.