MANOA — Elisa Favela and Cydney Curran each hit a two-run home run to lift defending champion Campbell to a 5-2 win over Mililani in a semifinal game of the DataHouse/Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division I Softball State Championships at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium Thursday night.
The Sabers, who are ranked second in the ScoringLive/Hawaiian Electric Power Rankings, improved to 17-1 and will play top-seeded Kapolei and Pearl City in the 7 p.m. title game Friday.
The third-ranked Trojans fell to 13-5.
Favela, the Campbell clean-up hitter, put her team ahead for good with a towering home run to right centerfield in the bottom of the fifth.
"I was just trying to hit a line drive, trying to get on any way," said Favela, whose shot hit the top of the fencing some 30-plus feet above the 200-foot signage on the outfield wall. "I'm not too sure what kind of pitch it was, but it was a good pitch."
Favela was perhaps the only person in the stadium who had any doubt the ball would stay in play.
"I had no clue that was going out," said Favela, who will play for Bipsy College in Louisiana next year. "I actually just needed to hit a base hit just to help my team out and get a run or any way to get on base and then I just hit it and I was just thinking, ‘OK, don't hit a pop fly. Try and get a base hit.' "
Favela's younger sister, Trinity — who was courtesy running at second base — scored on the home run. The elder Favela also drove in a run in her first at-bat, which gave the Sabers an early 1-0 lead.
"I rolled over and I think I should have waited on it a little longer, but I helped my team out and we got a score," Favela said.
The Sabers benefitted from seven walks by Mililani pitcher Aubree Kim, including four in the first inning, but left the bases loaded in the frame.
"That was disappointing," Hermosura said. "We normally try to bring the runs in and by doing so, we have to stay on top of the pitch and stay inside and try put the bat on the ball and find a gap, but at that point, it never happened and we talked in the dugout again. We told them with one or two outs, somebody has to clutch up. Somebody has to clutch up and have it within themselves to hit the ball. It never happened, but they made adjustments through the rest of the innings."
The Trojans tied it in the top of the fourth on Kristen Ishii's solo homer over the left field fence. They pulled ahead an inning later when No. 9 hitter Brooke Yasuda hit a two-out triple and scored on Keri Togami's RBI-single one batter later.
However, the lead was short-lived.
After Kim struck out Curran to open the bottom of the fifth, she allowed a double to Jocelyn Alo, who was courtesy run for by Trinity Favela, before Elisa Favela's blast on a 2-1 offering from Kim.
Curran added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth on her two-out homer that just cleared the fence in right field. On the play, her younger sister, Cieana — who reached on an error two batters prior — scored from second.
"I was expecting outside, but she came inside so I just turned on it quick and got my hands through," said Cydney Curran said. "We definitely needed to capitalize on our hits and add more runs on the board because knowing Mililani they can come back at any time."
It was Curran's first over-the-fence home run of her prep career.
"She hits the ball in practice like that, but more on a line, but tonight that was a line gone and it was high enough to get over the fence," Hermosura said.
Hermosura praised Curran, Alo and Favela — his No.'s 2, 3 and 4 hitters — for taking a good approach at the plate.
"They made adjustments," Hermosura said. "We know they were struggling on the outside pitch and I know they weren't going to give Alo anything good, so we had to made adjustments on the plate and just wait for a pitch that they could put the bat on and they did it. They made the adjustment and the ball went out."
Mililani coach Rose Antonio said the two home runs likely came on mistake pitches by Kim, but credited her team for hanging tough.
"Our girls never gave up. They fought," Antonio said. "I mean, they scored and went up, we got the run back and we went up. We were ahead. I mean, we played a good game … It was just the home runs."
Meanwhile, Campbell ace Danielle Cervantes recorded her third complete-game in as many nights. She struck out nine batters, walked none and scattered five hits.
"She just battles," Hermosura said of Cervantes. "She battles and she'll throw the pitch that I ask for. If she's behind on the count, she'll back come in. She'll fight her way, try nibble at the corner and if not, just come right at them and she has the capability of doing so."
Aubree Kim took the loss for the Trojans. She went the distance and allowed five hits with seven strikeouts and seven walks.
The game was a rematch of the last two state championship games, which the teams split. Campbell swept all three meetings against Mililani this season.
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