Kailua freshman shuts down Iolani softball with four-hitter
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
Kailua High School freshman Courtney Kessell gave herself a sweet 15th birthday present last night, a gift she was able to share with all of her softball teammates.
The present a four-hitter with seven strikeouts helped the Surfriders defeat Iolani, 4-1, and advance to today's state quarterfinals at the University of Hawai'i's Rainbow Wahine Stadium.
"She was really good; our girls had a hard time with all of her pitches," Iolani coach Chris Shimabukuro said. "Her fastball was good, and we knew about her riser but still couldn't hit it."
Kessell's teammates did not come to the party empty-handed, giving her a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning and three runs in the third. The Raiders scored their lone run in the fourth, on a bases-loaded walk.
The four-hitter was not an easy one, as Iolani put runners on in every inning except the last. But Kessell never let the Raiders, who left 10 runners on base, break through.
"I've been in those situations before, and my team backed me up," Kessell said. "I just tried to concentrate on one pitch at a time."
The Surfriders' opportunistic offense, sparked by leadoff batter Danielle Young (3-for-4), seemed to do the same. Kailua (12-3) started early when Loke Lastimosa reached on a fielder's choice and stole second before coming home on Tanisha Milca's single.
The Surfriders, who took third in the O'ahu Interscholastic Association, made it 4-1 in the third on Milca's sacrifice fly and a two-run single by Kainoa Hughes. Kailua coach Bernard Victor said his team has worked hard on its hitting in the past week, and Shimabukuro said it showed.
"They swing the bat well and are aggressive at the plate," Shimabukuro said. "They hit the ball hard."
So did the Raiders (12-3) at times, but it never seemed to shake Kessell. Iolani was hurt when center fielder Stacey Higa, the Raiders' No. 2 batter, injured herself diving for a single by Young. But Kessell also held No. 3 batter Ianeta Lei and cleanup hitter Blair Agena to a combined 1-for-7.
"As a freshman, the poise she showed was impressive," Shimabukuro said.
Kailua (12-3) 103 000 0 4 6 2
Iolani (12-3) 000 103 01 4 1
WPCourtney Kessell. LPIaneta Lei.
Leading hitters: Kailua Danielle Young 3-4, Tanisha Milca 1-2, 2 RBI, Kainoa Hughes 1-3, 2 RBI. IolaniKelly Asato 1-3, RBI.
Baldwin 5, Castle 3: The Maui Interscholastic League runner-up Bears (15-3) rode the arm and bat of starter Sabrina Alesna-Mindoro and got a huge assist from center fielder Zoie Sevilla.
Alesna-Mindoro pitched her way out of two jams in the final two innings, and her two-run triple in the bottom of the sixth broke a 2-2 tie. Jenna Mailou immediately followed with an RBI groundout to make it 5-2.
Alesna-Mindoro escaped sixth-inning trouble thanks to a strong throw from Sevilla that caught Lia Pedrina at home plate. The Knights (12-2) got a run with two outs in the seventh, but Alesna-Mindoro got a groundout to end the game.
Castle (12-2) 110 000 03 8 3
Baldwin (15-3) 020 003 X5 6 1
WPSabrina Alesna-Mindoro. LPLia Pedrina.
Leading hitters: Castle Pedrina 3-4; Megan Cravalho 2-2. BaldwinAlesna-Mindoro 2-3, triple, 2 RBIs; Zoie Sevilla 2-2.
Leilehua 17, Kealakehe 1: Shalayna Nutter-Gaudet pitched a two-hitter, batted 3-for-4 and drove in four runs to power Leilehua of the O'ahu Interscholastic Association past Kealakehe of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation.
Kealakehe (8-3) 100 00 1 2 10
Leilehua (10-5) 123 2917 11 2
WPShalayna Nutter-Gaudet. LPAlana Power.
Leading hitters: LeilehuaNutter-Gaudet 3-4, double, 2 runs, 4 RBIs; Heidi Garcia 2-3, double, 2 runs; Shannon Guerrero 2-4.
Waimea 8, Kaimuki 1: Albette Nawai pitched a four-hitter and Destinie Keamoai batted 3-4 as Kauai champion Waimea beat Kaimuki of the O'ahu Interscholastic Association.
Waimea's Erin Castillo and Kaimuki's Tyleen Tausaga hit home runs.
Waimea (11-2) 010 223 08 8 1
Kaimuki (11-4) 001 000 01 4 6
WPAlbette Nawai. LPTyleen Tausaga.
Leading hitters: Waimea Erin Castillo homer, 2 RBIs; Jaime Koerte 2-4, double, 2 runs; Destinie Keamoai 3-4, double. KaimukiTyleen Tausaga homer; Dalia Solia 2-3.