Campbell in title game Graduation won't stop Pac-Five
Punahou shackles Mililani, 8-3
• Photo gallery: HHSAA State Division I semifinal
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
Katie Manumā pitched a three-hitter with eight strikeouts and one walk last night to lead Campbell past Castle, 3-0, giving the Sabers a chance tonight for their first DataHouse Softball State Championship.
Campbell, which will be making its first state title game appearance in recent memory, improved to 17-1 in the regular and postseason and will face Interscholastic League of Honolulu runner-up Punahou (14-3) in tonight's championship game at Rainbow Wahine Stadium.
First pitch is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be televised live statewide on OC16.
Three of Manumā's older sisters — Valana, Malamaisaua and Anita — played in state title games for Kapolei and St. Francis.
"I always did," said Katie Manumā, when asked if she envisioned herself playing in the championship game. "We finally made it to this game, and we want to make history, we want to bring out our 'A' game again and close it out with a bang."
Manumā helped her own cause in the first inning, with a two-out double to center field. Courtesy runner Tiana Rosario then scored on an infield error. Campbell made it 2-0 in the fourth when Daylene Antonio led off with a walk, advanced to second base on Taylor Rosa-Ramon's fielder's choice bunt, to third on Collette Black's sacrifice bunt and scored on a passed ball.
The Sabers stretched the lead to 3-0 in the sixth after Nicole Arata led off with a triple to right-center and scored on Antonio's single to right one batter later.
That was more than enough support for Manumā, who allowed only two runners past second base and escaped a sixth-inning jam caused by three errors by striking out the next two batters.
"Katie was on her game today," Campbell coach David Perreira said. "You don't win too often when you make four errors, but she kept us in the game."
Castle had upset the Sabers in the O'ahu Interscholastic Association semifinals two weeks ago, taking a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Manumā also was pitching for the third consecutive day and came off a tense, nine-inning 6-3 victory over No. 2 seed and Interscholastic of Honolulu champion Mid-Pacific in Wednesday night's feature quarterfinal.
But Knights coach Jon Berinobis knew Manumā would still present a tough challenge last night.
"I know her history, she gets stronger as the game gets longer," Berinobis said. "The last two times we faced her, we had good first innings, but not tonight."
Perreira said getting to the title game was a big achievement after losing to the eventual champ (Mililani, Kamehameha, Baldwin and Pearl City) the previous four state tournaments.
"For these girls, it's been all or nothing, and they're hungry," Perreira said. "It feels good to get here, but we've still got one more game to go."
CASTLE (13-5) 000 000 0 — 0 3 1
CAMPBELL (17-1) 100 101 X — 3 4 4
Leisha Li'ili'i and Alyssa Cipriano. Katie Manumā and Summer Palipti. W — Manumā. L — Li'ili'i.
Leading hitters — Castle: None. Campbell: Nicole Arata triple; Brianne Silva-Kapihe triple; Manumā double.