WAIPIO — Team Titan jumped out to a 10-run lead to win, 12-5 over Team Rogue to capture the 12th Annual New City Nissan Softball Classic championship at Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park on Sunday.
This tournament organized by Maryknoll coach John Uekawa and the New City Nissan and Maryknoll staff gives these seniors an opportunity to play their final high school softball game.
Some girls will continue their playing careers in college, but for others, this game closes a chapter of their softball careers as they begin a new chapter in other things.
Nawai Kaupe (Maui High), who played short stop for Team Titan, is the first Neighbor Island player to participate in the classic.
"I'm honored and blessed to be selected with all these amazing and talented girls. I wanted to thank the coaching staff who nominated me to be here. I met new girls and I have some teammates from Guava Jam and the girls that I met from other schools got closer because of this three-day tournament," said Kaupe, who will play for the University of Washington.
Castle forfeited all but one game in the Oahu Interscholastic Association season due to low numbers so for Shea Kauanui, being selected to play in this game was special for her. Kauanui hangs up her softball cleats for soccer cleats as she will play at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. According to her, Westminster does not have a team, but she would consider playing in clubs.
"I was nervous at first because these girls came from their season and I haven't been practicing. I was a little scared if I was going to mess up their mojo or anything, but it felt good. It felt good playing all those years playing with coach John (Berinobis) really paid off," said Kauanui, who plans to study business.
Team Titan erupted for an early rout to load the bases on walks and Megan Taguchi (Roosevelt) drew a bases-loaded walk for a run. Chantelle Shimabukuro (Aiea) and Sadie Kapaku-You (Kapolei) each drove in runs with RBI singles. Tyanna Kaaialii (Pearl City) walked Jocelyn Alo (Campbell) and Kaupe came in with a towering grand slam for an early, 8-0 lead.
Team Titan padded their lead to 10 after Alo doubled to right field and Ashley Salausa (Leilehua) brought her in with a single and Kaupe brought in her fifth RBI of the game with another single.
Team Rogue wouldn't go down without a fight as Mama Rivera (Mililani) lead off the fifth with a double and scored off of Salavao Veu's (Waipahu) sacrifice fly. Kamalei Labasan (Maryknoll), Kaaialii, and Kaila Burnett (Nanakuli) all singled and then scored on an error as it trailed, 12-4.
Maddie Ikeda (Iolani) led off with a single then scored off of Alo's single and Kapaku-You reached on a fielder's choice and Salausa scored her with an RBI single for Team Titan's last runs.
Kaaialii led off the seventh with a walk and Burnett singled but was picked off at second on Ashlyn Okamoto's (Iolani) fielder's choice. Beyli Correa (Mid-Pacific) plated Kaaialii, but Poamai Tuli (Aiea) flew out to Alyssa Salud-Mendoza (Waianae) who threw it to home and Alo tagged out Okamoto near the plate to end the game.
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