Schools: Surprise win the result of hard work by Chung Cheng High (Main)'s softball girls

Chung Cheng High (Main) vice-captain and catcher Nicole Tay (in black) watches the play as Verryn Tan Li Ying, of 2014 champions Tanjong Katong Girls' School, swings at the pitch. Chung Cheng, beaten in the first round last year, won 7-1 yesterday to
Chung Cheng High (Main) vice-captain and catcher Nicole Tay (in black) watches the play as Verryn Tan Li Ying, of 2014 champions Tanjong Katong Girls' School, swings at the pitch. Chung Cheng, beaten in the first round last year, won 7-1 yesterday to take the Schools National B Girls' softball final.ST PHOTO: TAMARA CRAIU

It was a fairy-tale run that no one had expected, not even the Chung Cheng High (Main) softball girls themselves.

They were in disbelief when the final whistle in the Schools National B Girls' softball final was blown.

"We didn't really expect this victory. It has exceeded our expectations," said captain and pitcher Ng Jing Yi of their surprise 7-1 win over Tanjong Katong Girls' School at the Kallang Diamond.

After all, the school did not even have softball as a co-curricular activity (CCA) until six years ago. Last year, they exited the tournament in the first round.

Tanjong Katong, as winners of the competition in 2014, were also heavy favourites to clinch the title.

Chung Cheng's coach Albert Chua, 49, acknowledged the hard work that the players had put in for the victory. "I pushed them a lot but they really wanted to win and even went for extra training on weekends," he said.

The school's softball teacher-in-charge Cassandra Char, 29, concurred: "They put in a lot of hard work but we didn't go into the game expecting to win.

"Getting to the final was already an achievement in itself and I just told the girls to enjoy the game."

The team also went into the game with two key players carrying injuries.

One of them was vice-captain and catcher, Nicole Tay.

"For the past three years, my batch of players have always exited at the first round and all we targeted was to make it past that stage this year," she told The Straits Times.

"Our injuries were so bad but we really wanted it and I'm very proud of this team."

While the girls' final featured a surprise winner, it was status quo in the boys' final as Raffles Institution (RI) romped to a 13-2 victory over Catholic High School (CHS) to claim a fourth consecutive title.

In the last two years, CHS have fallen at the final hurdle to RI and the game was as good as over by the third inning, with Raffles holding a commanding 10-2 lead.

Home runs from Ryan Ye and Kevin Ho in the fourth and final inning sealed the victory for RI.

"I feel very proud as many of our players stepped up today and everybody played their part," said Raffles captain Tien Yu. "We came in with a lot of confidence and really wanted to win."

CHS pitcher Aloysius Ong was confident his team will bounce back from the defeat, saying: "We played our best today against a strong RI team.

"Even though we didn't win, we will get it next year."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 05, 2016, with the headline 'Surprise win the result of hard work by Chung Cheng'. Print Edition | Subscribe