Kailua advances to OIA semifinals
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
Yes, there is life after Courtney Kessell for the Kailua High School softball team.
The Surfriders proved it in a big way yesterday, edging two-time defending O'ahu Interscholastic Association champion Kapolei, 1-0, to advance to today's OIA Red Conference semifinals.
Eastern Division runner-up Kailua (11-2) will play West champion Mililani (12-1) in today's 5:30 p.m. semifinal at Central O'ahu Regional Park. Kapolei (8-6) will play Campbell (7-7) in the consolation bracket.
Brittany Tokunaga's bloop single just over shortstop scored Krista Dumandan from second base with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning to lift the Surfriders over the Hurricanes. Dumandan had reached on a one-out double to right-center field.
That was all the run support needed for sophomore Ashley Hopfe, who pitched a two-hitter despite only one strikeout. This was Hopfe's first playoff start, after four-time Advertiser All-State pitcher Courtney Kessell had led Kailua into the state tournament in each of the past four years.
Kessell now plays for Hawai'i Pacific University, but the Surfriders seem to be in good hands with Hopfe.
"Ashley had an outstanding game," said longtime Kailua coach Bernard Victor. "She's not a strikeout pitcher, but she did the job today."
Hopfe, a right-hander, worked out of a first-inning jam after the first two batters got aboard on a single and walk, then allowed only one walk and one hit the rest of the game. She also was backed by a solid defense that made only one error and turned a key double play to end the sixth inning.
Kapolei leadoff batter Ashlynn Ashby reached on an error in the sixth and advanced to second on Chanti Paris' sacrifice bunt. Shortstop Sydney Kaneshiro then fielded a ground ball, fired to first to get the batter, and first baseman Shayla Kamaka threw to third baseman Shyenne Hussey to get Ashby trying to advance.
"We just didn't make the right play when we had to and Kailua did, and that was the difference in the game," Hurricanes coach Tony Saffery said. "But Ashley was tough, she did a great job. I've seen her pitch in the spring and summer, and she's gained confidence from playing in the offseason."
Hopfe needed the confidence to defeat counterpart Tajia Acierto, who was The Advertiser's State Player of the Year in 2004 after leading Kapolei to the state title. Acierto finished with a four-hitter yesterday.
The Surfriders had squandered a golden opportunity in the fourth inning, with runners on second and third with no outs. The runner on third was picked off by catcher Ashby after a missed squeeze, and Acierto got an infield pop-up and a grounder to second to escape trouble.
"It was supposed to be a squeeze, but we froze up," Victor said. "After that, I told our coaches we had our chance (to score runs) and we blew it. I was just hoping we would get another chance later."
KAPOLEI (8-6) 000 000 0 — 0 2 3
KAILUA (11-2) 000 001 X — 1 4 1
Tajia Acierto and Ashlynn Ashby. Ashley Hopfe and Brittany Tokunaga. W—Hopfe. L—Acierto.
Leading hitters — Kap: Ka'ili Smith 1-2; Ashby 1-3. Kai: Tokunaga 2-3, RBI; Krista Dumandan double; Shyenne Hussey double.
Mililani 6, Campbell 0: Makani Duhaylonsod pitched a one-hitter with five strikeouts as Mililani advanced to a semifinal game against Kailua.
Casey Sugihara batted 3 for 3 and Kim Goo 2 for 2 for the Trojans.
CAMPBELL (7-7) 000 000 0—0 1 1
MILILANI (12-1) 003 201 X—6 10 3
Leina Kalua and Kai Clark. Makani Duhaylonsod and Skye Virtudes. W—Duhaylonsod. L—Kalua.
Leading hitters—Mili: Casey Sugihara 3-3, 3 runs; Kim Goo 2-3, double.
Leilehua 5, Roosevelt 0: Tiana Vierra pitched a no-hitter with nine strikeouts, lifting Leilehua into a quarterfinal game against Castle.
Nikki Ige batted 2 for 2 for the Mules.
ROOSEVELT (3-9) 000 000 0—0 0 4
LEILEHUA (7-6) 002 030 X—5 4 1
Paika Frank and Chelsie Wilson. Tiana Vierra and Ashley Phillips. W—Vierra. L—Frank.
Leading hitters—Lei: Nikki Ige 2-2; Vierra double.
Moanalua 4, NAnAkuli 2: Sarah Robinson batted 2 for 3 and pitched a two-hitter with eight strikeouts to help Moanalua advance to a quarterfinal game against Pearl City.
Vernadine Vickers hit a two-run homer to give Nanakuli a 2-0 lead in the top of the third.
NANAKULI (1-12) 002 000 0—2 2 3
MOANALUA (9-4) 002 200 X—4 7 2
Sierra Felisi and Sasha Montez. Sarah Robinson and Sissy Hillsberry, Shelby Nakachi (2). W—Robinson. L—Felisi.
Leading hitters—Nana: Vernadine Vickers 2-run homer, 2 RBIs. Moan: Robinson 2-3, double, 1 RBI; Glennis Kanae-Rodrigues 2-4; Jamie Ronolo 2-2, double, 2 runs; Traci Yoshikawa 2 RBIs.
SAINT FRANCIS 7, MARYKNOLL 0: Shannon Lum batted 2 for 3 and Jovan Hire homered, carrying Saint Francis to an Interscholastic League of Honolulu victory.
Brittney Akana and Alisha Sakamoto teamed on a six-hit shutout.
SAINT FRANCIS (12-2) 003 030 1—7 8 2
MARYKNOLL (2-13) 000 000 0—0 6 5
Brittney Akana, Alisha Sakamoto (6) and Ashley Smith. Ariel Silva and Kimberly Okaneku. W—Akana. L—Silva.
Leading hitters—St.F: Shannon Lum 2-3, Jovan Hire homer.
Reported by Mark Glushenko
IOLANI 6, MID-PACIFIC 0: Chelsey Keola pitched a four-hitter and had three hits, including two doubles, with three RBIs and two runs scored to boost Iolani.
MID-PACIFIC (2-11) 000 000 0—0 4 0
IOLANI (11-3) 005 010 X—6 11 1
Shari Shobu, Shelby Drabman (2), Mari Kondo (3), Shari Shobu (3) and Kim Onishi. Chelsey Keola and Kai Masutani. W—Keola. L—Shobu.
Leading hitters—Iol: Kai Masutani double, 2 RBIs; Keola 3-4, two doubles, 3 RBIs, 2 runs; Lauren Fukuda 2-3, 1 run.
PAC-FIVE 2, PUNAHOU 1: Jessica Ghazali pitched a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts and batted 2 for 3 to propel Pac-Five.
PUNAHOU (5-9) 000 100 0—1 3 1
PAC-FIVE (7-7) 000 002 X—2 6 1
Taila Autele and Sara Sameshima. Jessica Ghazali and Cara Hasegawa. W—Ghazali. L—Autele.
Leading hitters—Pun: Sameshima double. P5: Reesene Choy 2-3; Ghazali 2-3.
SACRED HEARTS AT KAMEHAMEHA, PPD: The game was postponed due to inclement weather and rescheduled for tomorrow at 3:45 p.m.
Reach Wes Nakama at email@example.com.