MANOA — Mililani will have the chance to turn Trojan Town into Title Town for the second time in two weeks.
Oahu Interscholastic Association champion and top-seeded Mililani (14-3) turned the heat up on Kamehameha (12-4-1), 14-4, in a six-inning mercy rule win Thursday night at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium to advance to the DataHouse/HHSAA Division I State Championship game.
They'll face OIA West foe and two-time defending D1 state champion Campbell for the koa trophy at 7 p.m. Saturday night at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
The power part of the Trojans' lineup lived up to its name as it combined for eight hits to bring in all 14 runs.
"I don't know if it's being aggressive, but they just swing the bat, make contact and put the ball in play," Mililani coach Rose Antonio said. "It's been great for them."
No. 5 batter Shannon Pascua-Stanton did half the carnage herself going 3 for 3 with seven runs batted in.
Kamehameha started the game defensively with two errors to allow a run before Pascua-Stanton got the fire started with an RBI single.
The next inning, Mililani's bats unleashed its fury.
Maya Saneishi and Maya Yoshiura paired doubles to left field before Merilis "Mama" Rivera blasted a two-run moonshot to the tennis courts for her second home run of the state tournament. Pascua-Stanton followed shortly with a two-run bullet over the center-field wall.
Three innings later with the bases loaded, Pascua-Stanton hit another laser to center field but missed out on a game-ending grand slam by just a few inches.
"I thought it was going over. I stepped onto home plate and I cheered way too early and then I saw the ball drop," Pascua-Stanton said. "But at least we scored three more. [Kamehameha] started a rally so we just had to cut it down a little."
Maya Yoshiura ended it in the bottom of the sixth with a liner down the right-field line to bring Tarah Aniya home for the 10-run rule score.
"I just told myself to not hit the ball hard, but just have contact with the ball," Pascua-Stanton said. "This past season it has been rough for me so I worked this past week off and just said, ‘No regrets,' and I'm just going to go all out."
Seven of the Trojans' runs came with two outs in the inning.
The Warriors went with Rayla Jacobs-Kea in the pitching circle, but she has still not completely recovered from nagging shoulder and back injuries throughout the season. She lasted 1-2/3 innings before the ball was handed over to freshman Reese Mokuau who pitched a 12-strikeout gem the day before against Waiakea. Despite also giving up seven runs, Mokuau only allowed three hits but struggled to find the strike zone as she walked a season-high nine batters.
"No matter how much we try to prepare them for the moment of being on the big stage, I think it affected some of our players especially the younger ones with the crowd and the noise," Kamehameha coach James Millwood said, who was a former football head coach and junior varsity softball assistant coach for Mililani.
After two first inning errors on defense, the Warriors reached base with a lead-off walk, but back-to-back pop up sacrifice bunt attempts failed to get anything further going.
"We talked about staying off the high ball when we're trying to bunt. We weren't disciplined. It kind of took us out of our game," Millwood said. "We just fell behind. They didn't quit. They kept on trying to battle back."
Scoring on two outs seemed to be the recipe for success as the Warriors strung together four hits from Tausani Tavale, Alana Cobb-Adams, Dallas Millwood and Kyler Stephens to plate three to cut the deficit to five runs.
Misha Carreira again was the starting pitcher for the Trojans, and after a near-collapse in the final inning against Maui the day before, she knew she just had to stay with what has worked for her all yearlong.
"It's still a learning process. I just take it one game at a time, one inning at a time and one pitch at a time," Carreira said, who struck out eight batters and gave up only two walks. "I just had to settle down and hit my spots because I knew my defense had my back."
The Trojans are chasing their fourth state championship after winning most recently in 2014 against Campbell.
The Sabers have won the last two state titles including a mercy rule win against Mililani in 2015.
Both teams also met for the 2014-15 OIA JV championship in which many of the current rostered players played in. Mililani won, 2-1, off of home runs from current junior Cheyenne Ardona and senior leftfielder Taylor Schmerbauch.
Kamehameha will battle Pearl City in the third place game at 4:30 p.m. at McKinley High School.
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