School sports

School Sports: Catholic high win 1st B div softball title

Left: CHS catcher Joshua Tan (No. 13), tagging RI's Zachar Oh (No. 25) during the bottom of the fourth inning. Below: CHS boys celebrating with a lap of honour after beating eight-time defending champions RI to win their first Schools National B Divi
CHS catcher Joshua Tan (No. 13), tagging RI's Zachar Oh (No. 25) during the bottom of the fourth inning. ST PHOTOS: DESMOND WEE
Left: CHS catcher Joshua Tan (No. 13), tagging RI's Zachar Oh (No. 25) during the bottom of the fourth inning. Below: CHS boys celebrating with a lap of honour after beating eight-time defending champions RI to win their first Schools National B Divi
CHS boys celebrating with a lap of honour after beating eight-time defending champions RI to win their first Schools National B Division boys' softball crown.ST PHOTOS: DESMOND WEE

Eight-time defending champs RI fall 1-3 to a team bent on capturing their maiden crown

They were facing the eight-time defending champions Raffles Institution (RI), who had denied them the Schools National B Division boys' softball title for the past three years.

Yesterday at the Kallang Softball Field, Catholic High School (CHS) finally broke RI's dominance, as they clinched their first B Division title after beating their rivals 3-1.

Drenched in sweat but grinning from ear-to-ear, the CHS players hollered their school name as they lifted the long-awaited trophy.

Said an elated CHS principal, Ms Magdalen Soh: "In the end it wasn't about whether they won or they lost, it was about their spirit, and it was wonderful."

While RI had prevailed in the last three years, there was hope that this CHS cohort could break through, as they had beaten their rivals in the 2015 C Division semi-finals.

Yet, they had lost twice to RI during the run-up to this final, and when RI took the lead in the first inning through shortstop Ryan How, it had seemed that they would maintain their hoodoo over CHS.

However, CHS refused to buckle, with pitcher Aloysius Ong in fine fettle, keeping the RI batters at bay throughout the game.

"We love being down, it is our favourite position to be in," said CHS captain Tariq Basrawi, who pointed to the setback earlier in the game as their motivation to win.

CHS managed to level the score in the third inning through catcher Joshua Tan.

RI came close to retaking the lead when Zachar Oh ran almost the full length of the pitch, but was tagged by Tan before he could reach the home base.

With the score still tied at 1-1 at the top of the fifth and final inning, CHS finally broke the deadlock through Joshua Lim.

A few minutes later, they extended their lead when Low Zu Ray scored their third run in the same inning.

Ong dismissed RI's final three batters as the CHS team exploded with joy, running towards the mound for a celebratory group hug.

Despite losing their crown, the RI players showed class as they paid their respects to the CHS spectators, by doffing their hats.

"We did our best but I felt that they were the better team," said a distraught RI captain and pitcher Kohki Higashitani.

His sentiments were echoed by Azmy Rizman Ali, RI's head of Physical Education.

"It was a pretty even game but Catholic High took their chances, they deserved to win," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2017, with the headline 'Catholic high win 1st B div softball title'. Print Edition | Subscribe