Sebastian, Pauli return from New Zealand softball silver medalists
BY DENNY SCOTT
Team Canada, including Ty Sebastian of Brussels and Tyler Pauli of Seaforth, returned from the World Softball Championships last week with silver medals.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation’s World Softball Championships in New Zealand started last month and wrapped up on Dec. 4. Team Canada fell to Australia in the gold medal game by a score of 5-2 after posting an impressive record of 7-1 throughout the tournament. Canada opened the tournament with a 3-2 win over Venezuela, then downed Denmark 10-0. Continuing their opening-round domination, Team Canada blanked South America 11-0 before downing Australia 6-0. The last game of the round saw Canada post a convincing 9-2 victory over Japan.
In the Super Round, Canada edged out the U.S. 4-3, but then fell 5-4 to Argentina. Canada then blanked Cuba 2-0 to claim a berth in the gold medal game.
While both Sebastian and Pauli were happy with the results, they also both said they had hoped for a gold medal.
“It’s nice to be home, but the silver was a little disappointing,” Sebastian said in an interview with The Citizen. “It’s not the colour we wanted.”
Pauli said he was happy with the success the team found in the world tournament and in other games the team played, but he also wished for a different result for the final game.
“I”m happy with how far we’ve come as a team,” he said. “I did wish it was a different colour.”
Sebastian said the deciding factor was luck, saying that, in their 6-0 victory over Australia, Team Canada had the bounces go their way.
“They had all the bounces in the final and we didn’t get any,” he said. “The hits we had didn’t fall in, and their young pitcher threw a really good game.”
Pauli, on the other hand, felt the Australian team that took the field during the final was completely different from the one Team Canada had shut out earlier in the tournament.
“I was shocked, when we got to the finals, of how well Australia made adjustments,” he said. “It was like a totally different team took the field than the one we saw in the round-robin.”
As far as their personal performances, both said they enjoyed the tournament, with Sebastian saying he felt he did well both in the field and on the mound.
Sebastian had 14 at-bats, scoring three runs on two hits with three runs batted in. He pitched one game, earning the win for the team and posted a 2.86 earned run average and 14 strike-outs. He played four games in the field and posted a 1.000 fielding percentage.
Pauli had two at-bats and earned two runs with one run-batted-in.
Pauli said he didn’t see as much playing time in the tournament as he did in the games leading up to it, including another tournament, but it was an educational experience for him.
“The other guys got on rolls, so I was being supportive,” he said. “I was happy to see that success from our other teammates, especially the Ontarians.
“I learned a lot about myself, such as being able to add that support role to the aspect of my game,” he said. “I learned to be that cheerleader and be a good team guy on the bench. I wasn’t accustomed to that in the past, but now I know how important it is.”
In previous years, Pauli was the only Ontarian on the team. This year, he was one of three between himself, Sebastian and Quinten Bruce, with whom he plays on the Bear Creek Express team.
“I am really proud of the way the Ontario guys stepped up this go-around,” he said. “I know Ty was a late [addition], but he did well, and saw quite a bit of playing time. He was very versatile. This was Quinten’s first time, and I tried to take him under my wing, but he surpassed me.”
While neither anticipated the outcome of the final game, both entered the tournament with confidence the team would do well.
“With this particular group of players, especially our pitching staff and how long some of us have been together, nobody was surprised, especially our team, when we went undefeated in the opening round,” Pauli said.
Sebastian said it was the team’s goal to “run the table” but succeeding in that opening round wasn’t a sure thing. He said the team may have cooled a little after that, leading to its loss in the Super Round and the finals.
As for the future, Sebastian looks forward to playing with the Tigers again and playing with the Toronto Batmen, a team in the International Softball Congress (ISC).
“I want to get in as much ball as possible and try and get back on a national team for the next cycle,” he said.
Pauli anticipates going back to Bear Creek Express and traveling the ISC circuit, which includes several tournaments throughout the year, leading to the national and world championships.
He hopes to be a part of the national team next year as well, though the qualifier for the next international competition hasn’t been set yet.
Both were thankful for the support they received from home, while Pauli said the support in New Zealand was incredible.
Sebastian thanked everyone who supported and watched the games from home, saying it was “pretty awesome” for a community the size of Brussels to send so much support.
Pauli said the family members who came to New Zealand for the team were fantastic, and that this year marked the most support he had seen for the squad, and it wasn’t just from Canadians.
“Once New Zealand didn’t have a great show, their fans started to jump on board to support us,” he said. “That didn’t go unnoticed.”
For more statistics and information on the tournament, visit www.wbsc.org.