Jack Seppings ’25, a relief pitcher for the baseball team, threw two scoreless eighth innings this week.
The first was this past Saturday during Brown’s 9-5 loss at the University of New Orleans.
The second was on Wednesday in Arizona against the Milwaukee Brewers, with the right-hander swapping his Bears jersey for that of the Great Britain national baseball team. In the exhibition, Seppings threw a scoreless, hitless inning against Brewers prospects, walking one batter.
Seppings was named to the team’s taxi squad for the 2023 World Baseball Classic, an international competition that began Tuesday and will conclude March 21.
Though he will not join Great Britain for their opening game against Team USA on Saturday night, Seppings will be on call to take a spot on the 28-man active roster should a player go down due to injury. He could also be swapped out for someone currently on the active roster if Great Britain advances to the next round of the WBC.
Following the conclusion of Brown’s weekend series last Sunday, Seppings returned home to Georgia, where he departed early the next day to arrive at Great Britain’s minicamp in Phoenix.
“To represent my country, it’s a big deal for me,” Seppings told The Herald. “My dad’s British, so I’m in England two or three times a year. I have a lot of buddies there … (and) I have family there … (so) to see how proud everyone is of me on that side of the pond is unreal.”
Players can qualify to represent a World Baseball Classic team if one of their parents is from that country, according to the competition’s rules.
“I’m just proud of Jack and all the work he’s put in for it,” said Brown Head Coach Grant Achilles. “The opportunity to represent your country (on) the (biggest) stage, that’s certainly a really high honor.”
This is not the first time Seppings has represented Great Britain on the international stage: He played for the country’s U18 team in tournaments in Italy and Switzerland at ages 16 and 18, respectively, and has also represented the U23 National Team. Seppings said he was supposed to travel to Germany last September to play in the WBC’s qualifying round, but was unable to do so after a lingering injury.
Seppings’s past experience gives him a level of familiarity with many of the members of the WBC team’s coaching staff, including Assistant Pitching Coach Connor Brooks, who was Seppings’s pitching coach in the U23 tournament. Despite missing the qualifying round, Seppings was in contact with Brooks and the coaching staff, sending the team videos and data in an effort to get on the team.
“I actually felt like I was in a better spot than where I was before my injury,” Seppings said. “It was (a matter of) making sure I’m 100% ready to go, (and) there (are) no underlying things that could keep me sidelined if I was” on the WBC gameday roster.
After arriving back on College Hill in late January, Seppings got a text from Brooks saying that he would be reaching out to Achilles. Soon after, Seppings got a call from Brooks informing him what the conversation had been about: He was officially being invited to minicamp.
“I was ecstatic,” Seppings said. “Especially that I’ve been in this program now for four or five years, that’s the end goal. This is where I’ve always wanted to be.”
Great Britain’s WBC team includes players like Vance Worley, who pitched eight seasons in Major League Baseball, Trayce Thompson, who hit 13 home runs in 80 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres last season and Harry Ford, a Seattle Mariners minor leaguer who is ranked the number four catching prospect in baseball by MLB.com.
After Great Britain’s first unofficial team practice on Monday, Seppings was “picking their brains already … It’s like a kid in a candy store, just trying to learn all (I) can,” he said. He also confirmed he had been added to a team group chat. “It’s pretty cool to have their contacts now,” he said. “No memes yet, but there’s some fun in there.”
Seppings also received his Great Britain jersey on Monday, complete with his last name on the back, a moment he described as “unreal.”
The reliever will reunite with the Bears Friday for the team’s weekend series against Pennsylvania State University. Seppings credited the Brown baseball staff for allowing him to compete in the tournament.
“It means a lot to me that … they trust me and my process, that I’m not slacking off … (and) that I’m doing everything I need to do to have success (in Phoenix), but also to have success on Friday.”
Teammate Ray Sass ’23 said that he told Seppings, “ ‘We’ve got your back. We don’t care if you miss a week, two weeks, a month — that’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Go throw for them. Represent them.’ ”
“I feel like I’m representing something bigger than me,” Seppings said, noting that he feels like a “completely new pitcher” due to his time at the University. “I’m representing how we do things as a team and our process…I’m not here unless all my guys are helping me.”
As for what Seppings’s future holds with Great Britain, he did not shy away when asked if he hoped to make the team for the next World Baseball Classic, scheduled for 2026.
“That’s the dream,” Seppings said. “At the end of the day, this is what baseball is about in my mind.”