Lii'ili'i pitches in to help Castle top Waiākea, 2-1 Campbell edges MPI in nine innings, 6-3
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
Leisha Li'ili'i pitched a five-hitter with eight strikeouts and no walks yesterday to help Castle hold off Waiākea, 2-1, and advance to its first DataHouse Division I Softball State Championship semifinals in at least seven years.
The O'ahu Interscholastic Association runner-up Knights improved to 13-4 in the regular and postseason and will face the winner of last night's late game between Mid-Pacific and Campbell in today's 5 p.m. semifinal at Rainbow Wahine Stadium.
Castle coach Jon Berinobis said it is the Knights' first semifinal appearance since 2003 or before.
"It's exciting, it feels good to be in this position," said Li'ili'i, a junior left-hander. "We deserve it, because we worked hard to get to where we want to be."
Castle certainly had its work cut out against No. 3 seed and Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion Waiākea (12-1). The Knights took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after two errors and Alyssa Cipriano's two-run single.
Waiākea cut it to 2-1 in the third after Kamie Imai singled with two outs, advanced to second on Kiah Taroma's single, to third on a single by Sloane Thomas and scored on an infield error. But Li'ili'i got out of the inning by inducing a grounder back to her, and she did not allow a runner past first base the rest of the game.
"They're selective hitters, so I had to stop throwing junk and just throw a straight ball in and out," Li'ili'i said.
The top three batters in Waiākea's lineup went 5 for 9, while the rest of the team went 0 for 17 with eight strikeouts.
"Those (bottom six) are all sophomores and freshmen," Warriors coach Bo Saiki said.
WAIĀKEA (12-1) 001 000 0 — 1 5 4
CASTLE (13-4) 200 000 X — 2 4 2
Tiffany Anzai and Kiah Taroma. Leisha Li'ili'i and Alyssa Cipriano. W — Li'ili'i. L — Anzai.
Leading hitters — Waiākea: Kamie Imai 2-3; Sloane Thomas 2-3. Castle: Cirpriano 2 RBIs.
Read his blog on high school sports at http://preptalk.honadvblogs.com.