School sports

Ri display mettle in softball triumph

Raffles Institution's softball players, seen here in a team huddle yesterday, beat defending champions Catholic High School 6-4 in the B Division boys' final on home turf.
Raffles Institution's softball players, seen here in a team huddle yesterday, beat defending champions Catholic High School 6-4 in the B Division boys' final on home turf.ST PHOTO: NATALIE CHOY

Team shake off stage fright to beat champs Catholic High for their ninth B boys' tit1e

It was a stern examination of their mental strength and Raffles Institution (RI) stood up to the test.

The school's softball team overcame nerves and a slow start to beat defending champions Catholic High School (CHS) 6-4 in the B Division boys' final yesterday.

What was even sweeter was that they clinched their ninth title in front of their boisterous supporters on their home ground in Bishan.

In a thrilling rematch of last year's final, outfielder Shane Lee opened the scoring for CHS, but RI hit back with two runs through catcher Audric Chia and third baseman Yuji Higashitani for a 2-1 lead after the first inning.

There were no runs in the second inning, but RI's nerves started to show up as their shaky defence in the top of the third inning saw them concede two runs.

"I could tell most of my team-mates were really nervous and that got the better of us," said RI captain and outfielder Daryl Teoh, 16.

CHS shortstop Joshua Lim and catcher Aaron Toh capitalised on their opponents' mistakes to give their team a 3-2 advantage.

But the RI players regained their composure, notching up four runs in the bottom of the third inning to charge to a 6-3 lead.

"We talked to each other, encouraged each other and kept our spirits up," said vice-captain and shortstop Max Koh, 16.

CHS rallied in the fourth inning, scoring one run through pitcher Low Zu Ray and holding RI run-less to narrow the deficit by one point.

But RI's third-inning feat proved insurmountable as CHS' failure to score in the top of the fifth inning handed the title to the RI boys, who celebrated with a victory lap.

Said Daryl: "Winning this title, there's an extra kick to it because we got it back and managed to overcome our nerves, too."

The Secondary 4 student also praised CHS for putting up a fight: "It was a tight scoreline throughout and they performed really well."

Unable to hold back tears, CHS captain and second baseman Stancey Choo urged his juniors to follow in the seniors' footsteps.

"The seniors trained so hard for this. Look up to them, train as hard as them and I'm sure you can reach your goal next year," said the 16-year-old.

In the girls' final, Methodist Girls' School emerged champions after a 7-0 win over Nan Hua High School.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2018, with the headline 'Ri display mettle in softball triumph'. Print Edition | Subscribe