Story by Jeremy Chua/Red Sports. Photos by Bryan Foo and Shenn Tan/Red Sports

HCI player (centre, bottom) slides towards home plate as NJC pitcher Aniket (NJC #1) tries to catch the ball necessary to tag the HCI runner out. (Photo X © Bryan Foo/Red Sports)

HCI player (centre, bottom) slides towards home plate as NJC pitcher Aniket (NJC #1) tries to catch the ball necessary to tag the HCI runner out. (Photo 1 © Bryan Foo/Red Sports)

Raffles Institution, Thursday, May 26, 2022 — Strong plate discipline, aggressive base-running and tight defense proved to be the keys for Hwa Chong Institution’s 13-3 win over National Junior College in the National A Division Boys’ Softball 3rd/4th placing match.

Hwa Chong pitcher Timothy (HCI #28) had a shaky start to the first inning, surrendering a 1 out inside-the park home-run to Mehrab (NJC #44). He rallied to get the next two batters out, leaving the pitch with HCI trailing 1-0.

NJC pitcher Aniket (NJC #1) then walked the first two Hwa Chong batters, who both proceeded to steal 2nd and 3rd, resulting in right-fielder Evan (HCI #36) coming up to bat with two runners in scoring position and 1 out. He laid down a bunt that allowed both his teammates to score, and a subsequent error by Aniket (NJC #1) on a throw to 1st made it possible for Evan (HCI #36) to take 3rd base.

Aniket (NJC #1) steadied himself and got the next two batters out, keeping the score close at 2-1 to HCI.

In the second inning, Timothy (HCI #28) held NJC, striking out the side. Hwa Chong then looked to extend their lead over NJC in the bottom of the inning, scoring five runs.

A 1 out walk and an error by centre-fielder Mehrab (NJC #44) allowed Gao Xuan (HCI #6) to score from 2nd base. A RBI single by Marcus (HCI #21) brought Siew Woo (HCI #17) home from 2nd base, and the follow-up walk to Chan Liang (HCI #3) set the stage for Evan (HCI #36) to come to the plate with 2 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd.

He capitalised, and a 3-run blast allowed Hwa Chong to pull away with a commanding 7-1 lead. Aniket (NJC #1) got Timothy (HCI #28) to pop out, ending the second inning.

NJC refused to give up, stringing together two infield base hits from Voon Guo (NJC #8) and Jovan (NJC #18) to start the third inning.

However, Voon Guo (NJC #8) was caught stealing 3rd by a strong throw from HCI catcher Ian (HCI #25), and momentum swung back to Hwa Chong as Timothy (HCI #28) capitalized with a strikeout and a groundout.

Hwa Chong further extended their lead over NJC —- with bases loaded and 1 out, a passed ball by the NJ catcher allowed Ian (HCI #25) to come home. A throwing error by NJC 3rd baseman on a grounder by Chaw Liang (HCI #3) then cleared the bases and allowed him to head to 3rd, where he scored on a sac fly from teammate Marcus (HCI #25).

Another two runs were scored on throwing errors by the NJC defense before Aniket (NJC #1) managed to get Jun Heng (HCI #14) to ground out to 3rd.

Hwa Chong went to the top of the fourth with a commanding 13-1 lead, with the chance to win the match there and then if they did not let in more than two runs.

NJC did not make it easy for Hwa Chong, though, scoring two runs through errors from the Hwa Chong defense. However, Hwa Chong’s pitching came through, getting Jovan (NJC #18) to ground out to 3rd for the win.

Reflecting on the season, NJC captain Hemanth (NJC #2) was happy that his team had been able to come this far, especially considering that they had not had long to train together.

“The fact that we got past the first round was a big thing for our school,” he said.

He also expressed his appreciation for the NJC crowd that had been cheering for them throughout the match, thanking them and their seniors for making the effort to come down.

“Overall, I am really proud of my team,” he concluded with a smile.

His counterpart, Hwa Chong captain Timothy Ng (HCI #28) was slightly more subdued, saying that they had started the season with “expectations to go into the final.”

Regardless, going into the 3rd/4th placing match, his team knew that they had to perform and attain third placing at bare minimum.

To attain this, it was “important that the pitching department stepped up, we were confident that our batting lineup would carry our offensive approach, it was important for us pitchers to limit the offense that NJC could provide,” he said.

“And credit to them (NJC), they put up a good fight, with some well-hit balls, they are a good team and you can see why they made it so far,” he added.

Score by Inning
Inning 1: 2-1 (2-1)
Inning 2: 5-0 (7-1)
Inning 3: 6-0 (13-1)
Inning 4: 0-2 (13-3)
Full-time: 13-3

Chaw Liang (#3) – 2 runs
Marcus (#21) – 2 runs
Bryan (#13) – 2 runs
Evan (#36) – 2 runs
Ian (#25) – 1 run
Jun Heng (#14) – 1 run
Gao Xuan (#6) – 1 run
Siew Woo (#17) – 2 runs

Mehrab (#44) – 1 run
Markus (#88) – 1 run
Andrew (#96) – 1 run

Hwa Chong Institution Roster
Chaw Liang (#3), Marcus (#21), Bryan (#13), Evan (#36), Timothy (#28), Ian (#25), Jun Heng (#14), Gao Xuan (#6), Siew Woo (#17), Ze Bin (#10), Seamus (#43), Xuan You (#11), James (#69), Jarred (#7), Lu Wei (#22), Yuan Ke (#9), Justin (#44), Evan (#19), Yi Jun (#16)

National Junior College Roster
Mehrab (#44), Aniket (#1), Ridum (#22), Voon Guo (#8), Naren (#27), Markus (#88), Hemanth (#2), Keegan (#99), Jovan (#18), Ding Hang (#23), Zhi Hao (#6), Vishal (#35), Balfre (#12), Andrew (#96), Prabhav (#49), Ian, Wei Jun, Jaewon, Alvin, Keith

If you know the HCI and NJC players’ full names, do drop a comment and we will update the team roster accordingly.

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