School sports: MGS softball pitcher Rachel Yoong guns for the Olympics

MGS pitcher Rachel Yoong hopes to make the national team and have a career in softball.
MGS pitcher Rachel Yoong hopes to make the national team and have a career in softball.PHOTO: TAN SINN YEN

SINGAPORE - It was the first half of the fourth inning, a timeout had been called and the Methodist Girls' School (MGS) 'C' Division softball team huddled together in the centre of the pitch.

They faced Raffles Girls' School (RGS) in the final of the Schools National Girls' C Division championship at the Kallang Diamond.

Sweat rolled down their cheeks and caused their blue and yellow (their school colours) face paint to smudge. But no one on the pitch looked more distraught than pitcher Rachel Yoong.

The 14-year-old could not control her emotions as MGS had just conceded their first run .

She was disappointed and took ownership of the run despite her team leading 7-1, which shows the high standards the teenager had set herself. Rachel eventually helped her school to triumph 14-4 as play was halted owing to the mercy rule.

She told The Straits Times: "When I start to perform not as well I think that everything is my fault because as a pitcher I'm the one holding the ball all the time.

"Today I learned it doesn't work like that because you have to trust the fielders to back you up and get the outs for you. You just need to pitch in strikes."

With softball and baseball due to make its debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Rachel is hopeful of breaking into the Singapore national team.

"I want to go! It's so exciting," she enthused, clutching her newly-won gold medal.

"I'm not sure about everyone else but I want to have softball as my career one day."

MGS captain Raine Tan praised the pitcher's performance, she said: "She did very well today. (She) might have had some problems in between but she made it through in the end and that's what's important."

After a 0-0 deadlock in the first two innings of the game, it was MGS who drew first blood. They went 7-0 up in the third after some exceptional batting, much to the delight of the MGS supporters.

In the fourth inning, RGS managed to secure some runs as the pitches began to slow down, bringing the score to 7-4.

MGS came out firing in their half of the fourth inning with their bases loaded on several occasions and eventually won 14-4.

In the boys' final, Catholic High School (CHS) retained their crown over Raffles Institution (RI) 3-2, despite losing 12-2 to RI in the group stages.

Stancey Choo, the captain of the CHS team said of his team's performance: " I'm very grateful and proud that we were able to defend the title. We changed our pitcher and tactics and worked together as a team. We cheered for each other and hyped each other up during the game."