Mid-Pacific captures first ILH softball title
• Photo gallery: MPI vs. Punahou softball
By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer
The Mid-Pacific softball team proved yesterday against Punahou that small ball and being patient can lead to a big inning.
The approach also led to a big accomplishment the Owls have been waiting for a long time.
Mid-Pacific scored five runs in the sixth inning, aided by three consecutive bases-loaded walks, to beat visiting Punahou, 9-5, for the Interscholastic League of Honolulu overall championship.
It was Mid-Pacific's first league softball title.
"Being the first time, it makes it special," said Mid-Pacific coach Willie Quinn. "I'm proud of these girls. They played their hearts out."
Mid-Pacific and Punahou will represent the ILH at the DataHouse Division I State Championships, May 11 to 14 at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. Mid-Pacific, ranked No. 3 in The Advertiser's Top 10 poll, won the league's first round and No. 4 Punahou claimed the second.
With yesterday's victory, Mid-Pacific (13-2) will be the ILH's seeded team and receive a first-round bye at the state tournament.
"We're ready to represent the school and work hard again," said sophomore Keiki Carlos, the winning pitcher.
The Owls trailed 5-4 entering the bottom of the sixth yesterday.
No. 7 hitter Kacy Aoki led off the inning with a double under the glove of the Buffanblu's right fielder.
Then came the small-ball part accompanied by Buffanblu boo-boos.
Tori Hamura put down a bunt to the Punahou pitcher, whose throw to the third baseman was dropped. Aoki, who likely would have been tagged out if the throw was caught, retreated to second on the play.
Tasha Luis-Hirata also laid down a bunt to the pitcher, and the throw to first was low and went into the outfield. Aoki scored on the play to tie it at 5-5 with pinch-runner Karis Kochi moving to third and Luis-Hirata holding at first.
"We made some bunts, and that's big any time you can execute a sacrifice and get on base at the same time," Quinn said.
Then came the patience part.
Carlos was intentionally walked to load the bases. Tasi Docktor, Kristin Yama and Kaydi Kochi followed with bases-loaded walks.
Docktor, a sophomore third baseman, finished 0 for 0 with a sacrifice bunt and three walks.
"I really wanted to hit, but a walk is good. Same thing," she said.
After a lineout, Courtney Niino singled to third to make it 9-5.
Punahou (12-4) made things interesting in the seventh by loading the bases with one out.
But the Buffanblu's No. 5 hitter lined a ball to the left of shortstop Yama, who made a spectacular diving catch and flipped to second baseman Corrie Murashige for the game-ending double play.
"I was so nervous. I was like, 'Stop the ball,' " Yama said.
The Buffanblu took a 5-4 lead in the sixth on Sarah Hiramatsu's one-out, three-run double to left.
"She has been struggling lately at bat," said Punahou assistant coach Paul Smith. "She's been getting a hit here and there. We've been waiting for her to cash it in."
Mid-Pacific then answered with its huge inning in the bottom half.
PUNAHOU (12-4) 101 003 0—5 6 4
MID-PACIFIC (13-2) 101 115 X—9 6 1
Jasmine Ioane and Kayla Shimoda. Keiki Carlos and Kaydi Kochi. W — Carlos. L — Ioane.
Leading hitters — Punahou: Reina Furuya 2 runs; Shimoda triple; Ioane 2-2; Sarah Hiramatsu double, 3 RBIs. Mid-Pacific: Aya Hadley 2 runs; Tasi Docktor 2 runs; Kristin Yama 2-3, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs; Kochi 2 RBIs; Kacy Aoki double.
ILH DIVISION II
PAC-FIVE 6, MARYKNOLL 4
Alena Hookano homered and drove in three runs, Aja Keyes doubled and drove in two runs, and the Wolfpack held off the Spartans for the ILH DII title at Mō'ili'ili Field.
Pac-Five will represent the league at next week's DataHouse Division II State Championships.
PAC-FIVE (4-11) 240 000 0—6 5 3
MARYKNOLL (3-12) 000 310 0—4 4 4
Sheridan Mahelona and Cassandra Koja. Kristen Yamasaki and Carolann Toyama. W—Mahelona. L—Yamasaki.
Leading hitters—Pac-5: Aja Keyes double, 2 RBIs; Alena Hookano homer, 3 RBIs.
Reported by Cecil Hasegawa