Kessell lived up to the hype
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
Softball pitcher Courtney Kessell, Kailua High School's freshman sensation a year ago, would have nothing of the sophomore jinx.
Kailua, pitcher Deborah Booker The Honolulu Advertiser
Player of the Year
Deborah Booker The Honolulu Advertiser
Her strong finish in 2002 elevated her from honorable mention status in the O'ahu Interscholastic Association Eastern Division to a spot on the all-state first team, and her recently completed season lofted her into recognition as The Advertiser's State Player of the Year after a vote of coaches and media.
"She had the press, and she lived up to it," Kamehameha coach Ty Sing Chow said after Kessell pitched a four-hitter and struck out eight in the state championship victory over the Warriors.
Kessell is joined on the all-state first team by teammates Loke Lastimosa, Danielle Young and Kamaile Hughes. Lastimosa, a senior, was selected as a third baseman although she finished the season as a shortstop.
She hit and fielded both of her positions well.
Young, a senior, patrolled center field with similar range and a strong arm, and she provided solid hitting and good speed from her leadoff spot in the Surfriders' potent batting lineup.
Hughes, a sophomore, batted cleanup and was a threat to clear the fence any time she came to bat. She hit .435 during the OIA season.
Kamehameha and Mililani each placed three players on the first team. The Warriors were represented by sophomore second baseman Liane Horiuchi, junior catcher Kaulana Gould and junior utility player Brandi Peiler.
Horiuchi took over for 2002 All-State second baseman Samantha Sardinha and also replaced current University of Hawai'i infielder Ashley Ruff as the leadoff batter. She filled both roles admirably, hitting .395 during the Interscholastic League of Honolulu season with four home runs, 14 runs and 12 RBIs and stealing 13 bases as well as providing solid defense.
Gould batted .361 with eight RBIs and showed a strong arm in throwing out base stealers.
Peiler was a first-team all-state outfielder the previous two years but this season came through with several clutch pitching performances, including a shutout victory over Punahou in the ILH championship game. She was perhaps the state's most complete player, offering strong defensive play in left field and batting .462 during the regular season, and also going 3-0 as a pitcher with a perfect game and a no-hitter, plus a combined no-hitter. She also pitched a shutout of Mililani in the state semifinals.
Mililani's all-state trio consists of junior shortstop Charity Senas, senior center fielder B.J. Shimamoto and senior pitcher Miki Asamura. Senas showed great range and a strong arm in the field and offered power hitting and speed as a leadoff batter. She batted .565 during the OIA season with five home runs and 23 RBIs.
Shimamoto hit .300 with eight stolen bases and put pressure on pitchers and defenses with her speed. She is a three-time Advertiser All-State selection.
Asamura, another repeat selection, went 8-1 during the OIA season with a 0.42 ERA and 86 strikeouts. Shimamoto and Asamura will play for the University of Hawai'i-Hilo.
Kaimuki first baseman Tyleen Tausaga and Baldwin center fielder Zoie Sevilla, both repeat selections, round out the first team. Tausaga again was one of the OIA's most feared sluggers and has signed with UH. Sevilla, a speedy defensive player with a strong arm and quick bat, is headed for UH-Hilo.
Kailua's Bernard Victor was named Coach of the Year after guiding the Surfriders unscathed through a tough East schedule, the OIA playoffs and the state tournament.