MANOA – Less than 24 hours after striking out a season-high 16 batters, Mililani ace Aubree Kim managed to improve on that performance.
The senior right-hander struck out 17 en route to a no-hitter to beat third-seeded Maui, 6-0, in Wendesday's quarterfinals of the DataHouse Division I state softball tournament at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. The No. 3 Trojans (13-4) will play Campbell in Thursday's 4:30 p.m. semifinal.
Kim walked three batters, including the first batter she faced. But she struck out the side to end the first. She also allowed two out walks in the second and fifth innings. After the fifth-inning walk to Tiana Tamura, Kim struck out the last seven batters. Of the four batters to put the ball in play for outs, none was hit hard and all were on the ground. The biggest scare came when Kaimi Fuentes hit a fly just outside the left field foul line.
"I didn't even think about (the no-hitter) until that last foul ball," Kim said. "Shannon (Pascua-Stanton) said, ‘You must've been squeezing your butt' because it was really close on the line."
Kim was much more efficient, using only 117 pitches compared to 157 from the game before. She attacked the strike zone and messed with the Sabers' timing by keeping them off-balanced with her changeup.
"Today, looked like she was more relaxed," Mililani coach Rose Antonio said. "She wasn't trying to over-throw. She was hitting her spots."
Kim said she more concerned with keeping her walks down than thinking about the no-hitter.
"I think yesterday, at the beginning of the game, I was trying too hard," Kim said. "I just have to trust my spins and location instead."
She has thrown no-hitters before, but throwing one on the state's biggest stage made it special.
"It feels good," Kim said. "It means a little more."
Meanwhile, Maui (12-3) did not do its starting pitcher Cira Bartolotti any favors, committing six errors behind her. Three in the first two innings led to three unearned runs.
In the top of the first, Keri Togami led off with a walk and scored on a fielding error in right field that also allowed Maya Yoshiura to take third after her single to right. An out later, Kristen Ishii grounded out to the pitcher and Yoshiura, who held up after contact, scored on the throw to first before Tarah Aniya popped out to end the inning.
In the second, Pascua-Stanton reached on an error, stole second and took third when Brooke Yasuda reached on a two-base error that sent Pascua-Stanton to third, where she scored on Togami's single to left to make it 3-0 before Yoshiura grounded out to first.
The Trojans then broke it open with a three-run third. Merilis Rivera singled to short and an out later, scored on Aniya's double to center. Tristan Cozo doubled to left to score Aniya before Markie Okamoto's RBI single make it 6-0 before Maui got the next two outs.
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