By Lim Kuan Wei (Softball, 13SO3K)
Hours of sweat, blood and tears under the rain and the sun, and it had all come down to this game. 5 innings, 15 outs to decide the champions of the National Inter-school A Division Softball Championship 2012. The RI players took to the field on 15th May, aiming to win the championship for the second year running against Hwa Chong Institution.
The first defensive inning started out perfectly, with pitcher Barathan striking out the first two Hwa Chong batters, before a defensive miscue allowed a runner to reach second base. Despite that, the RI team kept their cool and induced a shallow pop fly from the next batter, retiring the side without any damage done. Then came the offensive inning for RI, first batter, Samuel Lee smacked the second pitch he saw over the left fielder for a lead-off homerun, and RI led 1-0.
The second inning proved to be the same as the first, with great pitching from Barathan, supported by good defensive plays from his team mates. Hwa Chong was shut out again, and RI still led 1-0. With that, RI batters gained momentum, and after good at-bats from different players from RI team, it was Samuel up to bat with runners on second and third base. Once again, he proved clutch, driving a two-run triple, extending RI’s lead to 3-0. Hwa Chong knew that if they were to stand a chance in catching up, they would have to be at their best.
What ensued was a display of tight defensive innings from both teams, as both teams did not allow a run. The scored stood at 3-0 after four innings played. Hwa Chong was due up to bat, and if they could not score 3 runs, the game would be over and RI would be crowned champions.
“Raffles, hold them down!” as the RI team cheered while entering the diamond. 3 more outs. The pressure was immense, the atmosphere, tense. Despite that, the RI team kept their nerves, and after two outs, the ball was hit high into the outfield, and center fielder, captain, Hui Fu caught the fly ball, and the game was over. The RI team rushed onto the field to congratulate each other, and what followed was the traditional victory run.
The team huddled at home plate, and chants of “Raffles! Oi!” could be heard echoing around the diamond. It was a great pitching performance by Barathan, who pitched a no-hitter and racked up 8 strikeouts, and most importantly, it was a great team performance, shutting Hwa Chong down and holding on to the 3-0 lead. This victory marked the end of a brilliant season, with a total tally of 57 runs scored and 3 runs allowed, making RI the undisputed champions of A Division Softball 2012.