On a warm and sunny Saturday in early September, what felt like almost half of the second and third year classes of St. John’s Law turned out to two softball fields in Cunningham Park to support their journals and clubs. With each player adorned in their respective artistically-designed jersey, the annual softball tournament has turned into quite the annual social event, as attendance and excitement continue to build year after year. The softball tournament continues to provide students with a day-long event to meet students who you might not otherwise get the chance to meet, whether you pick up a bat and glove or just hang out to cheer on your fellow classmates.
This year, the tournament was graciously moved not only to a later start time, but also to a Saturday in order to accommodate those with Friday classes and externships as well as early Saturday morning PTAI practice. This change resulted in a complete takeover of the southern softball fields of Cunningham Park by jubilant St. John’s law students, excited to engage in a friendly competition with their peers, while also eager to embrace whatever remained of the high temperatures before the chilliness of fall sets in. This massive turnout led to the adoption of a style of play that consisted of two separate leagues. Bracket 1 saw teams fielded by the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review (ABI), the Polestino Trial Advocacy Institute (PTAI), and the New York International Law Journal (NYILR). Bracket 2 consisted of St. John’s Law Review, the Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development (JCRED), and the Dispute Resolution Society (DRS). Ultimately, the two teams with the best records from each bracket would move on to the playoffs, which would also begin to mix the brackets together.
The first round of the playoffs consisted of two marquee matchups. Law Review (2-0) met PTAI (1-1), while ABI (2-0) met JCRED (1-1) in what was a repeat of the 2018 Softball Tournament championship matchup. Law Review was able to squeeze out a victory over PTAI and stamp their ticket to the 2019 championship game.
However, the JCRED versus ABI game surprisingly proved to live up to the extreme level of hype that had been promised. JCRED came out early with a three-run lead as their bats had finally woken up following a slow start to the day. ABI refused to concede and rallied back a few innings later to tie it up and then get ahead. But this game had it all. There were dropped balls, home runs, and even a play at the plate that ended up keeping the game close. With their backs against the wall, JCRED came up to bat for the last time with what seemed like an insurmountable deficit. ABI was beginning to enjoy the sweet taste of victory on their lips as they felt that their dedication to practicing before Saturday had led to a team that looked like a well-oiled winning machine on the field. However, with two outs, up came JCRED’s Jennie Miller (’20) who sent a rocket into the outfield to score the go-ahead run and silence ABI’s immense cheering section. Three outs later, it was all over and the underdog, JCRED, had prevailed in taking down the three-time champion ABI, seen as the overwhelming favorite to win again.
The championship game was less exciting with JCRED building a sizeable lead early and continuing to pile on the runs as Law Review was left perplexed as to how JCRED’s offense, which had been largely ineffective earlier in the day, was now firing on all cylinders. At the end of the day, JCRED in their satirical Pixar movie-themed jerseys emerged victorious.
JCRED Editor-in-Chief and Team Manager for the day, Hunter Igoe (’20), when asked to describe his team’s underdog story said, “People said we couldn’t do it. No one believed in us. We felt that disrespect and we turned it into our motivation for the day. Now this bad boy [gesturing to the tournament trophy] will adorn our brand new journal office.” As euphoric teammates cheered on Igoe, a voice yelled out, “Incredible.” Igoe, not missing a beat, immediately responded, “No, not incredible, JCRED-ible.”
Ultimately, the softball tournament proved to once again be one of the most successful events of the school year. Special thanks go out to all those that took the time out of their busy law school schedules to secure the Parks Department permits, order catering for the day, and put together the brackets and rules.
The tournament’s huge success has led to rumors that another informal athletic competition could be underway for the spring semester. These rumors have sparked a healthy debate over whether the students would want to play basketball, kickball, or dodgeball. Only time will tell!