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Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveFebruary 28, 2018, 12:45am
Tue, Feb 27, 2018 @ [ 7:00 pm ]
W: Cira Bartolotti L: Joie Baker
KAP: Cira Bartolotti 2-4 2 runs 5 rbi 2 HR / 7.0 IP 2 ER 9 KMIL: Cherise Mori 1-4 2 rbi dbl; Joie Baker 5.6 ER 9 ER 6 K
KAKAAKO — Cira Bartolotti pitched a complete game five-hitter with nine strikeouts and cranked a pair of home runs with five RBIs to lead Kapolei to a season-opening 9-2 win over Mililani Tuesday night.
A crowd of about 150 fans at McKinley Tiger Softball Stadium saw the Hurricanes (1-0) belt four homers, including three in a six-run first inning en route to the rout of the defending Oahu Interscholastic Association Division-I champion Trojans (0-1).
Bartolotti, a junior pitcher, was making her Kapolei debut after starring at Maui High the past two seasons. She did not allow a hit until Katie Carlos' seeing-eye single to right field with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. Bartolotti surrendered two runs — on a two-out double by Cherise Mori in the fifth — but stranded seven Mililani runners on base, three of them in scoring position.
"It feels like a good game to get out and start the new season with," Bartolotti said.
At the plate, Bartolotti was just as good. Her three-run homer to left center with no outs in the bottom of the first got the scoring started.
"I think it was a fastball inside," Bartolotti said of the full-count offering from Mililani pitcher Joie Baker. "I was just trying to find a pitch that I could hit and if it was close to the zone, just touch it."
Kawena Hussey pumped a two-out, two-run home run to dead center four batters later, and Kiley Ozaki belted a solo homer that cleared the second outfield fence one pitch later.
"I thought she swung the bat really well," Kapolei coach Keoke Behic said of Bartolotti.
"I think she was really nervous — she gave up three or four walks today, so she and I have to work to cut that down a little bit — but I think overall the entire team hit the ball very well and if some days she gives up a little bit more walks, you know, I think the offense has to catch her back and they did that today," Behic said.
Kapolei sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning.
"That really took the pressure off coming into this first (regular) season game," Bartolotti said of the Hurricanes' six first-inning runs. "It relieved the pressure a lot having that cushion and those runs coming right off the bat."
After the Trojans plated a pair of runs in the top of the fifth to cut the lead to 6-2, Kapolei answered in the bottom of the frame. Tatum Guzman doubled to lead off the inning. She stole third base before coming around to score on an Ozaki two-out single back up the middle.
Behic said in lieu of a traditional lineup, he opted to split up his power hitters in third, sixth and eighth spots with Bartolotti, Chasity McKean and Ozaki, respectively.
"Because we have players that can be very dynamic for us — whether they play small ball and bunt, some can slap if we had to — so that's the reason why I did it that way, and our best hitter (Lili Kaimi-Montira) is at the top of the lineup," Behic said.
The Hurricanes added a pair of insurance runs on Bartolotti's two-run homer in the sixth inning. She took the first pitch of the at bat from Baker over the fence in right center.
"I think it was middle-outside," Bartolotti said. "I was just looking for a pitch in the zone to hit."
Ozaki batted 3 for 3 and Kaimi-Montira went 3 for 4 with a double and two runs scored.
Eight different players registered a hit for Kapolei, which rapped out 13 hits, including six extra-base knocks. Seven different players scored at least one run.
Saneishi (2 for 2, walk, run) was the lone player to pair hits for Mililani.
Baker allowed all nine runs in 5 2/3 innings of work and was tagged with the loss. She struck out six and walked none before giving way to Serenity Jackson, who retired the only batter she faced.
Bartolotti pitched a complete game five-hitter with nine strikeouts. CJ Caraang | SL
Bartolotti, a two-time First Team Maui Interscholastic League All-Star selection by The Maui News, moved from the Valley Isle to Kapolei in the offseason, where her mom and two brothers reside. As a freshman two years ago, she earned MIL Player of the Year honors.
"They're all really welcoming and it's been really enjoyable," Bartolotti said of her new teammates.
In the quarterfinals of last season's state tournament, Bartolotti was the losing pitcher for Maui High in a 7-6 decision against Mililani, which went on to reach the title game.
"They have new girls that I haven't seen before and their team is different than what I faced last year, so it was new, but the same, I guess, coming in," Bartolotti said. "I was a little nervous, just coming from a new school and playing live on TV, but I think I started to find a groove in the middle of the game."
Both teams continue OIA D1 West play Saturday. Mililani will host Nanakuli at 3 p.m., while Kapolei will take on three-time defending state champion Campbell at 5 p.m. at McKinley.
Hurricanes first-year coach Keoke Behic, who led Pearl City to its last of four state titles in 2006, was most recently an assistant at Campbell before taking over for Stacie Mahoe, who went 6-13 in her only season at Kapolei.
Twelve student-athletes, including the first from Lanai, will be honored June 2.
The Campbell senior shortstop batted 0.524 through the OIA regular season and playoffs.
The Kailua senior led all Division I pitchers with 72 strikeouts on the year.
The Marauders' third baseman helped the team go undefeated in the regular season.
The Mililani senior outside hitter won the award two years ago as a first-year setter.
Na Menehune senior was a six-rotation player that attacked from all areas of the court.