MANOA – Laugatausala Pedebone slugged two home runs to back the two-hit pitching of Sadie Kapaku-You and No. 1 Kapolei downed No. 7 Leilehua, 5-0, in Wednesday's quarterfinals of the DataHouse Division I state softball tournament at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
The top-seeded Hurricanes (14-3) advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2012, when they lost to Campbell. Kapolei will face Pearl City in an all-Oahu Interscholastic Association Western Division affair. The Hurricanes swept the regular-season series by scores of 5-3 in 10 innings and 4-1.
"Like I told the kids yesterday about Leilehua (which the Hurricanes also swept during the regular-season), erase the two meetings we had earlier," Kapolei coach Tony Saffery said. "Regular season, that doesn't define Leilehua. Coach Stacy (Araki) does an awesome job with her team."
The homers were Pedebone's first since March 21 against Pearl City.
"I'm proud of myself for overcoming from last week's OIA tournament because I struck out couple times in Campbell's game and I didn't really hit in the championship game, so I'm glad I could do this for my team," Pedebone said.
The only other hit allowed by Kapahu-You was a single to shortstop by the speedy Brandi Leong in the third inning. Otherwise, she retired the Mules on mostly grounders and pop ups.
"For the most part, she got all the results she needed," Saffery said. "She allowed the defense to help her out."
The biggest threat against Kapaku-You came in the top of the seventh. Kaena Nistal drilled a one out double to center and took third on a wild pitch before Ashley Salausa walked to put runners at the corners. But Chasity Stalcup grounded to short for the game-ending double play to preserve the shutout, the third in the quarterfinals.
Kapolei wasted little time getting to Leilehua starting pitcher Nistal (4 IP, 7 hits, 1 walk), who took the loss. With one out in the bottom of the first, Ciena Kauhi walked and took second on Kapaku-You's single to center. After Pedebone popped out to second, Lili Kaimi's ground single to center scored Kauhi before Dallas Pollard-Brownell grounded to short to end the inning.
Pedebone took over in the third. Kapahu-You singled with one out and Pedebone hammered a 1-0 pitch over the left-center field fence for her first home of the game to make it 3-0.
The Hurricanes added a run in the fourth on an RBI single by Kauhi to widen their lead to 4-0.
The Mules sent Stalcup, Tuesday's starting pitcher, to the circle to replace Nistal in the bottom of the fifth. Pedebone greeted her with a homer to left. Nistal settled down and retired six of the last eight batters she faced.
Also impressive was Pedebone's fielding. She handled five chances, including the game-ending double play.
"I'm much more comfortable on defense now," said Pedebone, who played third base last year and pitched the year before that. "I trust myself on the field now."
Saffery was proud of Pedebone's improvement on defense.
"Sala's a great shortstop," Saffery said. "When she got healthy, that was a no-brainer and I moved her back since she kind of got most of her range back."
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