Lindsey Long, 16, is a sophomore at William Henry Harrison (West Lafayette, Indiana) High and plays for Texas Glory 16U – Naudin travel team.
Lindsey was ranked in the 2022 Extra Elite 100 and the power-hitter is a strong candidate again for this year’s rankings. She was invited to go to Taiwan with an all-star team of travel players from Indiana on the trip from Jan 15-23, 2020 to participate in the 2020 Women’s International Tournament in Taiwan.
Here is Lindsey’s account of what happened on and off the field.
My softball journey continues to provide some of the greatest experiences of my life. It has now led me to play in tournaments and go to camps in 19 states and to play in tournaments in Taiwan!
This was the second time I was invited to play for a team representing Indiana as the USA team in the International Women’s Invitational Tournament in Puli, Taiwan. This team was made up of six seniors, three sophomores, two freshmen, four eighth graders and two college grads, mostly from competitive Indiana travel teams.
This time, we won the tournament and my teammates swept the all-tournament awards. We also got to play the Chinese Taipei national team in an exhibition game after the tournament was over.
The first trip was two years ago when I was an eighth grader and I wrote about it here in an Extra Inning Blog: Lindsey Long’s Shaky Softball Trip to Taiwan. On that trip we experienced a number of significant earthquakes but still had a wonderful experience. A number of my teammates from that trip are now playing in college. There were three of us who were on that team that returned on this trip.
Taiwan is 13 hours ahead and it takes two flights to get there from Indiana. A relatively short four-and-a-half hour flight to San Francisco and then a 14 hour flight from there to Taipei.
We were all tired after the 28-hour trip, but we also wanted to go out and experience the area around the hotel in Taipei on arrival. A number of us went out and explored the neighborhood and a shopping mall that was around the corner.
We were scheduled to play an exhibition game the next morning with a local high school team, but the weather did not cooperate as the game was rained out. We ate lunch with the players from the high school team instead.
One thing I learned on my first trip is that there would be a lot of seafood and that the food has different tastes, smells and textures than we are used to here in the US. I tried a lot of the seafood and really liked it on this trip.
After lunch, we headed to Puli, which is about 2 hours south of Taipei in the mountains of central Taiwan.
One thing that I really noticed on this trip is how clean everything was on the streets of both Taipei and Puli. They are both large towns with a ton of traffic and very little, if any sidewalks, yet the streets were clean. No trash. No dirt. No grime.
Each person or business cleaned the front of their home or shop daily. I travel a lot and I have not seen this anywhere else where everything is this clean. Trash trucks roll around every evening so there are no trash cans or dumpsters sitting out. The truck plays music like an ice cream truck does in the US, and people come out with their trash to put into the trucks as they roll by.
Once we arrived in Puli, we had banquets almost every night. We got to meet many of the local business leaders and government officials who support the tournament and the softball development program in that area of Taiwan. We also had fun interacting with the players from the other teams at these banquets.
At one of the banquets, there was a talent show where each team sent some of their members up to do something. About half of our team got up on stage and did a TikTok dance routine. Everyone laughed and had a good time at this event.
The weather on this trip was about as perfect as you could ask for. It was like playing at PGF Nationals. Over the course of four days, it was sunny and in the 70’s with a slight breeze. The field was in great shape, and the other teams all wore shorts. We all bowed to the umpire before every at bat as a sign of respect. We played and hit well and led in every tournament game, and we won the tournament going 4-2.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this and the last trip was getting to learn about their culture and having the chance to interact with the players on the other teams. Before every game we exchanged small gifts and bowed to each other in a sign of respect. Our team gifts were bracelets that they seemed to like.
We got a variety of things from small toys to postcards. At one of the banquets, we took our helmets and asked the players from the other teams to sign them for us. This will be a lasting reminder of my two trips to Taiwan and made for a pretty sweet souvenir.
Their style of play is different than we see here. There is a lot more reliance on small ball – bunting and slapping from top to bottom in their orders. They play flawless defense with very few errors. It was also an honor to play against the Chinese Taipei national team. We lost 6-0, but played them close through most of the game.
My teammates were incredible. In addition to winning the tournament, several of them swept the all-tournament awards:
- MVP Pitcher – Jordan Benefiel (2020, Indiana Shockwaves – Davis, Austin Peay State University commit)
- MVP Defensive Player – McKenzie Walters (2023, Indiana Dreams Green, uncommitted)
- MVP Offensive Player – Courtney James (2020, Indiana Shockwaves – Davis , Northern Illinois University commit)
- Mental Attitude/Most Enthusiastic – Taylor Erschen (2020, Beverly Bandits, University of Dayton commit)
We played most of our games in the mornings, which left the afternoons free for mandatory study tables, as well as cultural activities. We went to a Buddhist monastery, an aboriginal village and amusement park, and also went shopping and exploring on our own.
One of my teammates, Taylor Erschen, found her perfect prom dress – and they even altered it right on the spot in about 10 minutes.
It was once again a great learning experience.
I got to play with one of my friends and first rec ball teammates again, Whitney Duell (2024, Indiana Shockwaves – Tesnar). I got to know McKenzie Walters from the Indiana Dreams as well.
These relationships and the cultural experience were worth the travel, the time away from school and the jet lag I’ve experienced since I’ve been back.
Winning the tournament was a memorable part of my softball journey and I’m glad I went, but I’m also glad to be home and back to training for school ball and the summer travel season.