As Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC) shortstop Faith Gan walked up to the batting plate in yesterday's A Division softball girls' final, her coach Elaine Chua's final words of advice to "bring them home" was a recurring phrase in her head.
With a 2-0 fourth-inning lead over Raffles Institution and two runners on base in scoring positions, Faith had a chance to widen the gap and edge ACJC closer to the championship.
The 18-year-old did not disappoint and hammered a home run - her first of the season - as ACJC, last year's losing finalists, scored three runs and eventually won 5-0.
It was a very sweet moment, Faith said. "I just had the intention of hitting the ball hard and up because my team-mates were on base. It was just crucial that we scored.
"Sometimes you do things that are not planned. I managed to connect with the ball at a nice spot and drive it out."
The tense final held at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) was scoreless after three innings before ACJC's substitute outfielder Nurfa'iqah Norlizan scored from third base after a successful base hit by catcher Amanda Yeo.
Third baseman Megan Heng then doubled their lead before Faith's homer completed the inning.
RI's subsequent failure to score in the top of the fifth and final inning meant ACJC were able to celebrate their third A Division girls' title since the formation of the team in 2011. They were also champions in 2013 and 2015.
ACJC captain Amanda praised her team for carrying their fine form throughout the season - they won all three of their previous games - into the final. The 19-year-old said: "Everyone played as well as expected. We all managed to fight on and help each other."
Despite falling short, Raffles captain and second baseman Nicole Liew pledged her team would come back stronger next year. The 18-year-old said: "I believe in their potential and I believe that their next season will be even better."
In the boys' final, held at RI, the hosts trounced ACS (I) 11-1 to capture the title for the seventh consecutive year.