Softball Carnival 1
KE’s IHG softball matches kicked off on 10th January in the form of a carnival. A total of 3 matches, against TH, RH and EH, were scheduled for KE that day.
KE v TH
Spirits were high amongst the KE softballers as they warmed up before their match. For more than half the team, this was their first ever competitive softball match. As part of IHG’s rules for speeding the game up, each team was capped at 7 for the maximum amounts of points they could score at each of their batting half of the inning. The time limit for the match was also capped at 60 minutes – extremely short for a softball game.
Having lost the toss, KE’s softballers were resigned to field first against a strong TH side. Defending first, an inexperienced KE side ultimately conceded the maximum 7 points within the first 15 minutes, with each TH player sending the ball just beyond the outstretch arms of KE’s players.
It was KE’s turn to bat. Despite their training, an inexperienced KE side was unable to score any runs against a TH side laden with ex-school players. Experience and strength made all the difference in the game, and KE, unfortunately were lacking in both.
The game continued the same way for the next 3 innings (each team will bat and field against the other each inning), with KE not able to salvage anything from the match. However, Captain, Zhen Kai, showed tremendous pitching ability despite having a dearth in experience, striking out a handful of TH’s players. When it came to KE’s turn to bat in the 4th inning, the umpire blew for an early end to the game as there was no way KE would be able to come back.
It was a rude awakening for the KE players as the match ended 21-0, but the abject defeat motivated them to try even harder for the remaining matches.
KE v RH
An open field at 1pm on a cloudless, windless day was the last place you would want to be, but that was exactly where KEVII’s match against RH started. Braving the scorching sun and sweltering heat, KE rose, determined to make amends for their horrendous first performance.
KE won the toss to bat first, and up stepped the first batter, Sin Ching, to the plate. Despite contacting the ball, good play by RH played Sin Ching out at 1st base. Anton, going second, swung hard and missed the first time. However, he was not going to miss twice as a lovely contact sent the ball soaring into the air. However, a last ditch effort by a RH player resulted in Anton’s ball being caught before it hit the ground. KE found themselves 2 down! 3rd batter Cheryl did not fare much better as she too was played out before she could reach 1st base after contacting the ball. It was now KE’s turn to field!
Zhen Kai got the ball rolling by throwing a pair of lovely pitches, which first incited the RH batter to swing and miss, before landing a perfectly weighted ball onto the plate. Strike out! The next few pitches landed just short of the plate, walking 3 RH players. The bases were now loaded! Many pitchers would be stressed out by this situation, but not Zhen Kai as he lofted in a perfect strike. However, the RH player had sized Zhen Kai up, and the next pitch Zhen Kai threw, he unleashed a mighty swing which sent the ball over the head of left outfielder Renwei. KE recovered well from that but the damage was done as that hit scored 3 runs for RH. The next batter that stepped up was once again walked to 1st base before the subsequent RH batter connected with another pitch, bringing the number of runs scored by RH to 4. Under pressure, Zhen Kai once again struck another RH player out. 2 down, one more to end the inning? Could KE keep the score as such?
The final play of the inning proved to be an exciting one as the RH player slapped his attempt deep into outfield, bypassing all the fielders. As KE was busy trying to get the ball back to the infield, shortstop Zhe Ren ran to the home plate to attempt to prevent the RH players from scoring. As the ball was flighted back into the KE infield, the pressure resulted in the final RH player failing to step on the home plate. This meant that that RH was now 3 down, and the inning was over. However, the RH coach challenged the umpire’s decision claiming that catcher Berlinda had interfered with the running path of the RH player and that was a dangerous play. After a heated discussion between Zhe Ren, the RH coach and the umpire, the umpire reversed his decision and deemed the RH player safe, and the run scored. As that was the 7th run, the inning ended despite RH having only two players being played out.
A short break allowed players from both sides to get much needed hydration. As the umpire blew the whistle for the restart, Renwei stepped up to the plate. Unfortunately for KE, Renwei struck out. Not to matter, as the next batter, Hyesu, took up her batting position with an aura of composure. A confident swing of the bat connected with the ball and sent Hyesu sprinting towards 1st base. A poor catch by the RH 1st base meant that Hyesu was safe at 1st. However, slow reactions in picking the ball up by the RH 1st base provided Hyesu with an opportunity to get to 2nd base. Amidst screams from the KE players, Hyesu ran towards 2nd base, executing a slide just before she reached the base. As the umpire whistled and shouted “Safe at 2”, the KE bench erupted.
Shaken by this, the RH pitcher proceeded to walk the next 3 KE players with a series of wild pitches that the KE players, taught well to ignore, left alone. This allowed KE to score three runs. KE was unable to score more runs, however, as RH regained their composure to play the next two KE batters out to close the top of the inning.
With the blow of the umpire’s whistle, KE softballers took to the field to defend, clearly buoyed by Hyesu’s brilliant earlier performance. The inning was a relatively short one as KE let in only 3 runs. Anton, when faced with an infield fly, calmly lifted his glove and caught the ball. The second out was attributed once again to Zhen Kai whose strike out was his third of the day. Berlinda almost ended the inning by catching a foul tip. Sadly, its pace was too fast for her and the ball rolled out of her glove. It proved inconsequential as the next play, a force play, closed the inning after a simple toss from Liangyuh to Sin Ching played a RH player out at 2nd.
The next KE at bat saw KE score another point after speedy gonzales Anton capitalized on a RH error from his hit to run to 2nd base. A Zhe Ren line drive to left field brought Anton home to score. The rest of the inning was a drab one as fatigue slowly set in, with no other runs scored as an amalgamation of good defending and pitching by RH brought the top of the third inning to a close.
Due to time constraints, it was decided that the bottom of the third would be the last inning. As RH stepped up to bat, KE was determined to keep the number of runs scored low. Resolute defending and accurate pitching meant that KE ended the inning with only 4 runs scored against them.
The final score was 14-4 in favour of RH.
KE v EH
A congested fixture list meant that KE had barely 15 minutes to rest before they had to take on traditional softball powerhouses EH.
After winning the toss, KE opted to bat first. A fatigued KE saw their first 3 batters all fail to reach first base before they were played out. As KE took to the field to defend, captain Zhen Kai encouraged the team to push on and play for pride. It seemed to have an effect as the first EH batter was played out after his hit was superbly plucked out of the air by centre fielder Hyesu. Zhen Kai then proceeded to strike out the second batter. However, the play of the inning came undoubtedly from Renwei who sprinted 20 metres to catch a EH flyball that was destined for a homerun, ending the inning at 0-0. This was the first shut out that KE achieved this season and the delight on the faces of the players clearly reflected the magnitude of their accomplishment.
The top of the second inning meant that it was once again KE’s turn to bat. Owing to a combination of walks and good hits, KE managed to score 2 runs in the inning via Zhen Kai and Berlinda. It was the first time KE had led thus far.
After obtaining 3 outs, KE took to the field to defend their lead, the players determined to build on their impressive first inning showing. However, it was not to be as Zhen Kai, worn out by pitching the whole day, walked a couple of players after his pitches failed to find the home plate. Two big hits from EH players closed the inning at 7-2 in EH’s favour.
The third inning was a relatively good inning for KE. Big hits from Hong Yi, Anton and Zhe Ren after Chia Chia, Cheryl and Sin Ching got onto bases saw KE score 4 runs. 7-6, the score read!
As the afternoon drew on, KE players began to experience cramps. This negatively affected their defensive performances as EH once again scored the maximum 7 runs when it was their turn to bat. The match ended with a score of 14-6 as the umpire indicated that time was up.