Pac-Five holds off Waimea for DII title Campbell wins first state crown
By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer
Pac-Five pitcher Sheridan Mahelona wasn't about to put herself before the team yesterday.
She knew her softball teammates needed her in the pitcher's circle, and she didn't want to let them down.
Even if it meant missing her high school graduation ceremony.
Mahelona tossed a six-hitter and Aja Keyes drove in three runs as Pac-Five held off Waimea, 5-4, in the final of the DataHouse Softball State Division II Championships at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
"She's my idol, man," said Keyes, a junior first baseman who attends Lutheran. "She's like dedicated since my freshman year playing with her."
The championship game started at 5 p.m. and University High's graduation was at 5:30 p.m., so she and Wolfpack second baseman Shannon Lee had to pick one over the other.
Mahelona, who walked three and struck out four against Waimea, said she went back and forth on a decision.
"I decided last night, actually, kind of late, at like 10:30," said Mahelona, a right-hander. "I was like, 'Well, I can't let my team down.' I felt like I wouldn't be doing anything at graduation anyway. Since we'd just be sitting around, so I was like, 'I might as well go to the game.' "
Lee decided to attend University High's graduation, so during pregame introductions yesterday, Pac-Five coach Cecil Hasegawa held up an orange No. 13 jersey in her honor.
"She was here in spirit to help the team out," Hasegawa said. "We wished her good luck at the graduation. I know it was kind of hard for her."
Pac-Five, the Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion, led 5-0, but Waimea scored four over the final two innings. The Menehunes had two in and two runners in scoring position in the seventh, but Mahelona got the Menehunes' No. 6 hitter to line out to left fielder Kylee Yamamoto for the final out.
"I'm very proud of these girls. They battled all season, battled until the game was over and the last out was made," said Waimea coach Teddy Perreira.
Mahelona picked up complete-game victories over 'Aiea, No. 4 seed Konawaena, No. 1 Kalani and No. 2 Waimea in the tournament for Pac-Five, which also won state titles in 2006 and 2008.
Mahelona was the winning pitcher in the 2008 title game, a 4-2 triumph over Kaua'i. That year, Pac-Five ran into a similar situation with the championship game and University High's graduation held on the same day. Two Wolfpack players, including their ace, attended the graduation that year, so Mahelona got the start.
Pac-Five is a combined team with five players from University High, three each from Hawai'i Baptist and Lutheran, and one each from ASSETS, St. Andrew's and Word of Life on the roster this season.
Pac-Five's Quirena Natividad led off yesterday's game against Waimea, the Kaua'i Interscholastic Federation champion, with a triple over the right fielder's head. After a groundout, Keyes' line single to center gave the Wolfpack a 1-0 lead.
The Wolfpack added three in the third on Keyes' two-run single to left and Mahelona's successful squeeze bunt to the pitcher.
"She's always been one of the top hitters," Hasegawa said of Keyes. "I believe she leads in most (offensive) categories."
Pac-Five (8-11) made it 5-0 in the sixth on Natividad's sacrifice fly to center, which scored Alena Hookano.
Waimea (12-3) cut its deficit to 5-2 in the sixth on Davelynn Tafiti's RBI double down the left-field line, and Taylor Ephan came in on a wild pitch.
Mahelona retired the first two batters in the seventh before the Menehunes rallied. Ephan had an RBI double and Tanisha DeFabian had a run-scoring single to make it 5-4.
"I thought we pretty much had it, but all of a sudden we started to struggle a little bit," said Hasegawa, who won his first state title as head coach at Pac-Five. "I knew the girls were going to pull it out."
Mahelona received her diploma in a brief ceremony on the field after the game.
She said she planned to spend late last night with her graduating class.