MAKIKI — Danika Stewart and Mika Emoto drove in three runs apiece to lead No. 10 Roosevelt in a 12-8 win over fifth-ranked Leilehua at Stevenson Middle School Thursday afternoon.
The Rough Riders (11-2) notched their 10th consecutive win to advance to Saturday's semifinal round of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I tournament. The win also assures the Eastern Division's top seed a spot in next month's DataHouse/HHSAA State Championships.
The West fourth-seeded Mules (9-5), who had won eight of their last 10 games entering Thursday, fell to the consolation bracket with the loss.
The teams put on a hitting showcase that saw them combine for 33 hits — 17 of them by Roosevelt and 16 for Leilehua.
Eight different players registered a hit for the Rough Riders, who batted 16 for 34 as a team, including seven extra-base hits. Stewart, Emoto and Megan Taguchi each went 3 for 4 and Maya Nakamura and Angel-Leigh Ching also paired hits and drove in two runs each.
"I think they all hit," Roosevelt coach Clay Okamura said. "At their given time, they all hit timely."
It was the Mules, however, that got the hit parade going in the top of the first inning.
Brandi Leong cranked the second pitch of the game from Rough Riders' starter Jaeda Cabunoc for a lead-off home run to straightaway center — and onto the roof of a nearby classroom.
"We knew it was a great hit — and we gave that to her — but we knew we just had to shake it off and we had to come in with our bats swinging," said Stewart, a senior third baseman.
Mikayla Pinera followed Leong with an infield single. She took second on a wild pitch and tagged up on a fly ball to reach third before scoring on Alo Salausa's ground ball single to right to give the Mules a 2-0 lead after one-half inning.
"That could have really derailed us, but we just had to settle everybody down," said Emoto, a junior first baseman.
It didn't take long for Roosevelt to answer. Stewart hit a two-out single to left to score Nakamura. Two batters later Haylie Uetake plated Stewart with a bloop single to short right field to even the score.
The Rough Riders posted a four-spot in the second inning, when they sent eight batters to the plate. Angel-Leigh Ching's one-out solo homer was the second of six consecutive hits in the inning.
Emoto singled in Nakamura and Stewart followed with an RBI-double to bring home Kylie Kawamura before Cabunoc's sacrifice fly allowed Emoto to score to make it a 6-2 lead.
Leilehua got a run back in the top of the third when Reilyenne Nahulu scored on a Mahea Calizo groundout, but Nakamura plated a pair of runs with a double in the bottom of the frame that scored Mari Foster and Megan Taguchi to extend her team's lead to 8-3.
The Mules made it a game again with a four-run fifth inning, when it got five consecutive batters on base. Alyssa Abe drove in Salausa with a single to left and Gianna Araki scored on an error after getting on with a double. Alohilani Kauhane, who was pinch running for Calizo, along with Abe, scored on a double to left by Kawena Kahana-Travis that pulled the Mules within a run of the Rough Riders at 8-7.
However, Roosevelt's hitters were quick to respond once again. The bottom of the fifth saw them mound a two-out rally that led to three runs to extend their lead to 12-7.
Nakamura reached on an error and moved to second on a single by Kawamura. A wild pitch allowed both runners to move into scoring position, before Emoto brought them in with a double to the left-center gap on the ninth pitch of the at bat.
"That was good," Okamura said. "She battled, she kept her composure. She did great."
Stewart drove in her third run of the day three pitches later with a triple to scored Emoto.
"I was expecting an outside pitch because I was having trouble, but she pitched it pretty outside and I knew it was a strike, so I had to just adjust to the ball and just rip it," Stewart said.
Roosevelt scored five of its runs and had nine of its hits come with two outs in an inning.
"That's great," Stewart said. It's really relieving that we know that our players are here and even with two outs that we don't crack under pressure."
Cabunoc went the distance to improve to 5-0 on the season. The sophomore walked two and struck out one.
Junior Kaena Nistal (5-4) was the losing pitcher after allowing six runs on nine hits in 1 1/3 innings before giving way to Abe. Abe was charged with six runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings with one strikeout and one walk.
"I think the umpire wasn't calling (pitches) off the plate at all, so we had to come in and they just hit the ball," Leilehua coach Stacy Araki said. "I mean, we both hit the ball, but ours was to the girls, theirs one found holes and that's the way it goes."
Alo Salausa batted 3 for 4 for the Mules, who also had eight players log at least one hit. Mahea Calizo and Kahana-Travis each drove in a pair of runs in the loss.
"We hit the ball hard and we never gave up, that's the bright spot I think," said Araki, whose team can still clinch a state-tournament berth with a win in the fifth-place semifinals.
"I think we can," Araki said. "I think they feel this loss hard, so they're going to come back. I know they're going to come back."
Roosevelt awaits the winner of Friday's quarterfinal between Moanalua and No. 2 Mililani, which was rescheduled due to Thursday's rains.
The tournament championship was originally scheduled for Saturday at McKinley, but has been pushed back to Monday instead.
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