By Dennis Anderson
Advertiser Staff Writer
Third-place Punahou, which isnt going anywhere in the postseason, forced an unscheduled stop for Kamehamehas championship express yesterday, beating the Warriors, 5-1.
Two-time defending league and state champion Iolani climbed back into a tie for first place with Kamehameha when it scored a comeback victory over the combined team of Hawaii Baptist/St. Andrews and St. Francis, 6-2, at Kamamalu Field.
Kamehameha and Iolani have 11-2 records with one game to play next Wednesday. Kamehameha meets Sacred Hearts (9-4) at Crane Park. Iolani is host to 2-12 Mid-Pacific.
"This is about pride," Punahou assistant coach Nani Sua said just before yesterdays game at Kamehameha.
"Since were not going to states, this was redemption," winning pitcher Kira Kashiwa said afterward. Kashiwa had runners on base in five of seven innings but kept the Warriors at bay by working the batters inside and out and inducing 17 routine ground balls and fly outs.
The game turned after an injury in the fifth. Punahou pinch hitter Traci Kutaka took a fast ball from Kamehameha pitcher Leo Sing Chow square in the face and collapsed. Kutaka was taken to Kapiolani Medical Center, where she received eight stitches under her right eye. There was no fracture, Punahou coach Kristl Okuhara said last night.
When play resumed, with two outs and two runners on, Punahou tied the score at 1 on a bouncing single by Lauren Hiramoto. Then Erika Miyahara hit a high bounder that deflected off an infielders glove and went out of bounds behind third base, resulting in a runner who had stopped at third being waved home for the go-ahead run.
Sing Chow and the Warriors never got their game back and Punahou added two more runs in the sixth on two walks, a sacrifice fly by Beth Asano and a single by Cherisse Sakumoto.
An unearned run in the seventh gave Punahou its fifth run, more than any other Kamehameha opponent this season. Only once in 27 preseason and ILH games before yesterday had the Warriors allowed more than two runs.
Kashiwa, who held the Warriors to two hits, was crying so hard about the injury to her teammate it took her a while to collect her composure after the game. "Leo (Sing Chow) and I are good friends and rivals," she said. "We went at each other for 10 innings in December and she won, 2-1. We hadnt beat them since my sophomore year (1999)."
If Kamehameha and Iolani remain tied the playoff at 2 p.m. Jan. 27 at Cartwright Field.
PUNAHOU 000 0221-5 4 2
KAMEHAMEHA 010 0000-1 2 2
WP Kira Kashiwa. Leading hitters: Pun-Lauren Hiramoto 2-4. Kam-Brandi Peiler triple.
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