MANOA — This time, No. 3 Campbell made its opponent pay for pitching around Jocelyn Alo.
Chloe Domingo's bases-clearing double after Alo was walked with the bases loaded highlighted a four-run second inning and the Sabers dispatched No. 4 Maryknoll, the second seed of the tournament, 11-2, in Thursday's quarterfinal of the DataHouse Division I state softball tournament at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
"That was big," Campbell coach Shag Hermosura said of Domingo's double up the middle. "She's been hitting the ball really well, seeing the ball really well. It seem like the (softball) is like a volleyball. She stays humle and she hustles."
The two-time defending state champion Sabers (14-4) will meet Oahu Interscholstic Western Division nemesis Pearl City (13-3) in Friday's 4:30 p.m. semifinal. The Chargers have beaten the Sabers three times this season. Pearl City won 2-1 and 1-0 in eight innings during the regular season and 1-0 in a nine-inning no-hitter by Tyanna Kaaialii during the OIA semifinals.
"This is our time to shine," Domingo said. "We gotta do work and come out."
Reigning All-Hawaii Player of the Year Danielle Cervantes was her usual self, striking out 11. She had a two-hitter through six innings, retiring eight in a row in one stretch, before allowing a two-run home run to Raynna Mekaru in the bottom of the seventh.
In the 1-0 loss to Pearl City in which the Sabers were no-hit, they drew 11 walks, but was unable to score. Spartans' starting pitcher Kahilu McNicoll issued nine walks, but this time the Campbell bats woke up, especially No. 9 hitter Cieana Curran, who belted two homers and drove in three runs. Anastasia Iosia also homered.
"Cieana's getting it back," Hermosura said. "We had a talk today, why the reason she at the bottom. I explained to her and she's accepted it and she did well."
Curran's two homers give her a team-leading six.
The Spartans (11-6), making their fourth state tournament appearance, is second among Division I schools with 24 home runs.
"In our minds, they beat us by our own game," Maryknoll coach John Uekawa said. "They played the long ball. If you look at how we played in the ILH season, we always hit a lot of long balls."
Uekawa was impressed with Cervantes velocity.
"We tried to prepare for it by pitching (former Mid-Pacific Owl) Keiki Carlos from 35 feet (at practice), but nothing can compare to the real game."
In the end, it looked like the two-time defending state champions with a lot of new faces picking up where they left off.
"It's all kudos to them," Uekawa said. "Believe it or not, we came in on a high, but they made us look like how we looked tonight."
In the first inning, McNicoll intentionally walked Alo after retiring lead-off hitter Trinity Favela. Domingo followed with a line single to left-center, but McNicoll retired the next two batters to end the threat.
But it was the bottom half of the lineup set up the four-run second for Campbell.
Nikki Corla walked, took second on Zoie Recolan's sacrifice and advanced to third on Iosia's single. Curran walked to load the bases before Favela struck out. Alo was pitched around carefully with four pitches off the plate to force in the first run. But Domingo made the Spartans pay with a sharp ground ball up the middle that rolled to the fence to clear the bases to increase Campbell's lead to 4-0 before Alesia Ranches struck out.
Uekawa said he wasn't going to let Alo beat his team.
"The batter behind Alo, she's hot right now," Uekawa said of Domingo. "So we had to make this sacrifice, either to walk (Alo) and face (Domingo). We knew Domingo was more a line-drive hitter, so maybe we could get some ground balls, but kudos to her."
Domingo batted 3 for 5 with three RBIs.
"It's a lot of pressure," Domingo said of having to hit behind Alo. "I just have to breathe, do my job, move runners."
The Sabers then unloaded when they batted around in a six-run fifth.
Iosia led off with a homer to left-center and Curran destroyed the first pitch she saw to dead center to make it 6-0. After Favela walked, Alo was intentionally walked. Domingo avoided a tag on a bunt single toward first to load the bases. Ranches followed with an RBI single and Caisha Nunes delivered a two-run single. Ranches was caught in a rundown during the play for the first out. Corla walked and the runners advanced on Recolan's sacriice, but Iosia lined out to first to end the inning.
The Sabers added two more in the top of the seventh. Pinch hitter Malia Kaakimaka walked, but was forced out at second when Iosia reached on a fielder's choice. Curran then smashed her second homer of the game, again to dead center, to make it 11-0. Even though the next two batters reached on errors, McNicoll got the next two batters.
Maryknoll avoided being shut out on Mekaru's homer to left-center in the bottom of the seventh.
Campbell will be going to the semifinals for the eight consecutive year. It is 5-2 during that span. The Chargers made the semifinals last year, but lost to Kapolei, 6-5, in eight innings.
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