Former Seasider softball coaches and players offered encouragement to the current team after a scrimmage game as part of the alumni game activities on Saturday, April 1 at the BYU-Hawaii softball fields.
After the game between the former and current players, the two groups congregated in the middle of the field. The alumni told the current Seasiders to enjoy this last season.
“We were trying to get them excited to finish out their season here. We were so fortunate to play here at BYUH and I don’t think we appreciated it as much at the time as we do now,” said Katie Pagen, a 2005 alum who traveled from California for the game.
“My good teammate and friend Nicole Corp[ron] used to say,‘I’m just happy to be here.’ Every practice and every day when we came out of our dorm, ‘I’m just happy to be here,’ and today I know I felt the same way because I can’t stop smiling since being here.”
Sarah Captain, a junior from Arizona majoring in exercise sport science, said, “It was cool meeting these women because they just gave us good advice.” She said some of the things mentioned were how the girls would miss playing once the season ended and to play “as hard as we can and leave it on the field because this is our last year playing. We should play for us, our teammates, and for our coach.”
No score was kept during the game, but neither team showed a lack of energy. “We were a little surprised we still were alright at playing softball,” said Nicole Corpron, a BYUH alum from Utah who graduated with her friend Pagen in 2005. She added, “The best part of the game was seeing the same view of those mountains.”
While it appeared the current players’ skills were a little sharper, the team captain emphasized, “It was a ‘lets have fun and do whatever’ type of game. We didn’t care what the score was.”
Several of the alumni attending brought their families to the game. “It’s amazing seeing them grow up and get married in the temple and moving on with life,” said Sanu Mapu, wife of Jackson Mapu who coached for 10 years. “It’s so nice to see them as they come back and see they are still strong in the gospel.”
Seeing the families reminded both Jackson and Sanu of how they were raising their own young family when he was coaching.
“Our children were field rats, so they were always out helping their dad pick dragging the infield or chasing foul balls,” said Sanu.
Jackson talked about how nice it was to see girls he had recruited return and how their player-coach bond was still there. “When we recruited the girls, they were always surprised we had a softball team out at BYUH. The only thing we had to say to the girls was, ‘Want to come play in Hawaii?’ But the parents always said, ‘Even though they are a long way away we feel they will be safe at BYUH.’”
Jackson remembers recruiting a nonmember player and having a parent ask him if she had to be a Mormon to go to BYU. He assured the parents she did not, but the player ended up joining the church after meeting with the missionaries over several seasons.
“Standing here thinking about things that have happened on this field, I think one of the best things were the conversions of some of our nonmember players,” said Sanu.
After the postgame conference, both teams enjoyed a BBQ dinner. Most of them sitting in the grass surrounding the field and ate their food in the cool evening weather.
Corpron said, “It’s just like times haven’t even changed, and we’re still doing something we love.”