The Wellington East Girls’ College softballers re-established themselves as the leading girls softball school in the country at the NZSS Division 1 tournament in Christchurch last week.
Four-time champions between 2014-17, Wellington East lost their crown to Alfriston College last year when the tournament was held in Lower Hutt, but were emphatic 7-0 winners over One Tree Hill College in the final this year.
Co-captains Beyonce Rehutai and Alyssa McLean said the team saved their best game of the tournament for the decider.
“A lot of our girls stepped up in the final, and they played really well and took it to another level,” said Beyonce. “We weren’t expecting that result at all - we were expecting a really close game because One Tree Hill College is a good side.”
Particularly as their only loss of the tournament was to One Tree Hill College in the round-robin.
“We lost that game to them in a tie-breaker [3-4] and that was the second game of the tournament,” said Beyonce.
This year’s tournament in Christchurch was reduced to just four teams, with a few teams cancelling owing to the tragic events in the city a fortnight earlier.
Wellington East and One Tree Hill College were joined by Canterbury school Kaiapoi High School and last year’s champions Alfriston College of Auckland.
All teams played each other three times, heading into the straight final between Wellington East and One Tree Hill College.
Wellington East’s record was eight wins from nine games, scoring 69 runs and conceding 29.
Beyond and Alyssa agreed that another highlight from the team perspective playing well was their 15-4 win over Kaiapoi, with Wellington East invoking the mercy rule in that match.
Another key to Wellington East’s win was their experience, with the whole team except from one player returning from last year’s Division 1 nationals.
Four players were also in their team that won two years ago, including both year 13s Beyonce and Alyssa.
Five Wellington East players made the tournament team: Beyonce Rehutai, Ariana Cameron-Jones, Kaitlyn Peachey, Memoree Arai-Hardie and Jordaan Arai-Hardie.
The Arai-Hardie sisters are year 12s and twins, Memoree was the Pitcher of the Tournament and Jordaan was the Pitcher of the Tournament.
The Batter of the Tournament was Beth Reid from One Tree Hill College.
Wellington East were familiar with many of the other players in other schools at the recent nationals “We knew most of the Alfriston team, because most of them were returning from last year as well, and there is one One Tree Hill player in the New Zealand squad, “ said Beyonce.
Beyonce is a member of the Junior White Sox who are heading to California from 10-18 August for the U19 World Cup, in the team that is captained by former Sacred Heart Lower Hutt student Pallas Potter, while Alyssa was in the Emerging White Sox last year.
The Wellington East team all play club softball. The majority of the team plays for Miramar and other play for Island Bay and Poneke-Kilbirnie. Beyonce plays for PK and Alyssa for Miramar.
Now that the softball season is winding down, many of the Wellington East players will be turning their attention to winter sport. Beyonce is a leading player in the school’s Senior A netball team and plays wing attack and goal attack. Alyssa is taking a break from netball and basketball this winter to focus on school work and her part-time job in a café.
As well as the players, the Wellington East team management played a big part in their success this year.
Tivi Sila was the head coach and was the Coach of the Tournament, while Nikita Hiroki was the assistant coach and Marika Puleitu the manager.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand