MAGS win fifth-straight soft­ball ti­tle

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - SAMHEWAT

The Mount Al­bert Gram­mar School (MAGS) boys soft­ball team have con­tin­ued their reign as the best in the na­tion.

MAGS claimed their fifth­straight ti­tle at the Na­tional Sec­ondary Schools Di­vi­sion 1 com­pe­ti­tion at Rosedale Park last week, beat­ing Hast­ings Boys High School in the fi­nal on Fri­day 6-3.

How­ever, it didn’t come easy for the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons, who were beaten twice by Hast­ings Boys through­out the tour­na­ment.

The first came in the round robin stages when they went down in a nail-biter 1-0. They then met their ri­vals again in the pre­lim­i­nary semi­fi­nals where they lost 6-4 after lead­ing 4-2 for most of the game.

As a re­sult, coach Stu Kinghorn said there was a lot of pres­sure on the team head­ing into the fi­nal.

‘‘They were a lit­tle wor­ried,’’ Kinghorn said.

‘‘Be­cause when you lose to one team twice, it does get to you a lit­tle bit.’’

But some vari­able pitch­ing changes helped MAGS get the up­per edge. Kinghorn opted to ro­tate all three of his pitch­ers through­out the semi­fi­nal and fi­nal, which threw off the op­po­si­tion and didn’t al­low them to get into rhythm.

‘‘There’s noth­ing harder when the pitch­ing is chang­ing around,’’ he said.

‘‘I had three boys who throw the ball pretty hard.’’

Wild weather had threat­ened play ear­lier in the week but all games man­aged to get un­der­way suc­cess­fully.

MAGS picked up wins against Massey High School, St Peters Col­lege, Rose­hill Col­lege, Marl­bor­ough Boys Col­lege, South­land Boys High, and Green Bay High School.

The side boasted four na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tives, with Max Ear­ley, Brock Evans, and Taine Slaugh­ter all in the U17 emerg­ing Black Sox squad, while Har­ley May­nard was with the U19s.

Along with the ti­tle, MAGS also picked up a num­ber of in­di­vid­ual awards.

Har­ley May­nard was named top pitcher, while Max Ear­ley re­ceived the top catcher award.

Toby Bour­geois was named the tour­na­ment’s most valu­able player.

Brock Evans, Floyd Nola and coach Stu Kinghorn joined the other three in the Tour­na­ment Team, made up of the best play­ers across the com­pe­ti­tion.

SUP­PLIED

The MAGS soft­ball team cel­e­brate their fifth-straight ti­tle at the na­tion­als.

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