By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer
Kamehameha and Iolani are dead even in the race for the Interscholastic League of Honolulu softball championship.
Kamehameha broke through for three runs in the top of the ninth inning on a mishandled squeeze play and an RBI double to defeat host Iolani, 4-2, yesterday.
Both teams are 9-1 with four games remaining. If both teams finish the season in first place and with identical records, a playoff will be needed to determine the ILH champion. Iolani defeated Kamehameha, 2-0, on Dec. 13.
The score was tied at 1 in the ninth when the Warriors put two runners in scoring position with one out. Sarah Wong bunted the ball to Iolani pitcher Ianeta Lei, who threw the ball past catcher Tricia Sakamoto in an attempt to get Ashley Ruff. Sharee Fonoti also scored on the play. Napua Naumu followed with a double down the left-field line to score Wong.
"We have quite a few girls who can lay it down," Kamehameha coach Ty Sing Chow said. "But, (Wongs) definitely the one we want in there."
Said Iolani coach Chris Shimabukuro: "I thought Kamehameha executed that perfectly. We thought they might bunt so I thought we were ready for it. We just tried to do too much.
"We were actually trying to pitch around the batter (Wong), but she got something she could get the bat on. We needed to be a little more off the plate on that pitch."
In the bottom of the ninth, Iolani scored a run when Leo Sing Chow - the niece of Ty Sing Chow - walked in a run to make the score 4-2. Sing Chow struck out Stacey Higa and got Taryn Nagata to ground out to the second baseman to end the game.
Sing Chow pitched a five-hitter with 12 strikeouts. She threw 141 pitches - 41 balls and 100 strikes.
"(Sing Chows) awesome," Shimabukuro said. "She was working that outside corner. She kept our hitters off balance."
The Warriors mounted scoring threats in the fifth, seventh and eighth innings, but came away empty-handed each time.
In the fifth, Kamehameha loaded the bases after two errors and an infield single by Wong. Naumu hit a comebacker that was fielded by Lei, who came home for the force. Courtney Cho hit a sinking liner to center, but Amy Taniguchi robbed her with an all-or-nothing diving catch. Taniguchi threw to second to double off the runner. The catch probably saved four runs.
In the seventh, Kamehameha had a runner on third with one out. Fonoti popped up a squeeze attempt that first baseman Nagata charged and made a spectacular catch. She threw to third to double off the runner.
In the eighth, Lei loaded the bases with one out. She got Brandi Peiler to hit a comebacker, which she fielded and threw to the plate for the force. She induced Chelsey Ruff to ground into a force play to end the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, Sing Chow loaded the bases with one out on a double, infield single and a walk. She got Taniguchi to line into a 4-3 double play to end the threat.
Lei pitched an eight-hitter with three strikeouts. She threw 129 pitches - 50 balls, 79 strikes.
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