MAGS aim for fifth-straight softball title
The Mount Albert Grammar School (MAGS) boy’s softball team are in the hunt for their fifth consecutive national title.
MAGS have solidified themselves as one of the country’s top softball high schools, winning the past four National Secondary Schools Championships as well as churning out a handful of Black Sox and junior Black Sox representatives.
They will be looking to continue their dominance at this year’s championships, which started at Rosedale Park on Monday, with the finals scheduled to be played on Friday afternoon.
MAGS returned this year with a star-studded squad that included three Under 17 Emerging Black Sox members - Brock Evans, Taine Slaughter and Max Earley - as well as U19 Black Sox Harley Maynard.
However, coach Stu Kinghorn, who has been with the side through all four national titles, said despite the school boasting a strong programme, this year’s competition would be different.
‘‘It’s going to be a lot harder this year,’’ Kinghorn said.
‘‘There’s a little bit more depth in the competition than there was last year.’’
MAGS will have to fend off seven other title-chasers - including two teams from the South Island. Marlborough Boys, along with Southland Boys, have made the trip north, while Hasting Boys, Rosehill College, Green Bay High, St Peter’s College, and Massey High School round out the rest of the field from the North Island.
MAGS are also contesting the girls competition, with coach - former White Sox pitcher Michal Fletcher - looking to stamp a claim on the Division 1 title after winning the Division 2 competition last year.
Kinghorn said the school’s connection with Auckland club Mount Albert Ramblers was a huge driving force behind the school’s success.
‘‘We’ve been very lucky at MAGS. A lot of the kids play for Ramblers, and they all play together, and they all live around Mount Albert so that helps a lot.’’
All the competitors at this week’s tournament will be hoping the weather forecast proves accurate, and the rain stays away from Rosedale Park.
‘‘You think cricket’s bad in then rain, well softball’s worse,’’ Kinghorn said.
Before their win in 2013, MAGS had not won the title since the competition started in 1981.