Li'ili'i shines as Castle tops Lahainaluna, 6-0 Sabers' 'A' game leaves Rough Riders smarting
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
Leisha Li'ili'i pitched a four-hitter with five strikeouts and no walks and went 2 for 3 with two RBIs yesterday to help Castle blank Lahainaluna, 6-0, in the first round of the DataHouse Division I Softball State Championships.
The O'ahu Interscholastic Association runner-up Knights improved to 12-4 in the regular and postseason and will face No. 3 seed and Big Island Interscholastic Federation champ Waiākea (12-0) in today's 1 p.m. quarterfinal at Rainbow Wahine Stadium.
Yesterday's victory was Castle's first appearance since a frustrating 20-2 loss to Mililani in the OIA title game on May 1.
"We just had to forget about it and move on, put it in the past," said Li'ili'i, a junior left-hander. "We had to learn from our mistakes."
The Knights wasted no time, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after Brittany Hawn led off with a single to left field, advanced to second base on Brooke Kaulula'au's sacrifice bunt and scored on Li'ili'i's single to center.
Castle then exploded for five runs in the second on five hits, highlighted by Hawn's two-run triple to right-center.
That was more than enough support for Li'ili'i, who escaped her only jam with two outs in the second when right fielder Kalena Kinimaka made a running catch in foul territory to strand runners at second and third.
"That was a big play," Knights coach Jon Berinobis said. "Good thing, because it looked like they would put on a rally."
Li'ili'i allowed only three singles over the final five innings, with nobody advancing to second.
"Our bats weren't working today," Lunas coach Lei Nakamura said.
LAHAINALUNA (11-5) 000 000 0 — 0 4 5
CASTLE (12-4) 150 000 0 — 6 7 1
Hope Morikawa, Brenna Nakamura (2) and Tricia Bonifacio. Leisha Li'ili'i and Alyssa Cipriano. W — Li'ili'i. L — Morikawa.
Leading hitters — Lahainaluna: None. Castle: Li'ili'i 2-3, 2 RBIs; Brittany Hawn 2-3, triple, 2 RBIs; Kalena Lessary double.
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