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Game of the Week
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveMarch 27, 2018, 8:03pm
Tue, Mar 27, 2018 @ [ 3:00 pm ]
W: Cherise Horita L: Mikelle Gonzales
KLNI: Toni-Lynn Ibara 2-3 2 runs 4 rbi HR; Cherise Horita 6.0 IP 0 ER 9 KAIEA: Brooke-Lynn Rodrigues 3.0 ER 2 ER
PALOLO VALLEY — For the second time this season, Cherise Horita achieved perfection.
Horita, a junior pitcher, hurled a perfect game with nine strikeouts to lead Kalani to a 10-0 win over Aiea at Edward Pacheco Field at Palolo Valley District Park Tuesday afternoon.
The game was called after Toni-Lynn Ibara's three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning due to the mercy rule.
The Falcons, one of two remaining undefeated teams in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division II standings, improved to 6-0 on the season, while Na Alii fell to 5-2 and saw their four-game win streak snapped.
Horita faced the minimum 18 batters and did not reach a three-ball count.
"She's just a killer when she throws all her pitches. She's really good at hitting her spots and everything," Ibara said of Horita, who also logged a perfect game in a 10-0 win over Kaimuki to open the season back on March 3.
Kalani coach Kellet Hussey said Horita was even better Tuesday.
"She was on it today. She was on it the first game, but today she was frighteningly on it," Hussey said.
Horita threw 53 of her 81 total pitches for strikes. She struck out five of the final six batters she faced. Four of her strikeouts were called strike threes.
"I was just trying to keep them off balanced," said Horita, who improved to 6-0 on the season.
"I threw some change-ups in there to keep them off balance and I think my outsides were really working. They didn't seem to reach that part of the plate," Horita said.
Horita lowered her earned run average to 0.26. For the year, she has struck out 51 batters and walked just three.
"We feed off of her a lot," Ibara said of Horita. "We're all close as a team, so we all have good relations and we bounce off of each other."
Left fielder Jalen Nishihara saved Horita's perfect game in the top of the fourth inning. Nishihara came in a long way to track down a fly ball off the bat off Mikayla Gonzalez before falling to the grass.
"I had trust that she'd get it and she did," Horita said. "Jalen's been making really good plays throughout the whole season; She's saved me many times."
After Horita struck out the side in the top of the fifth, she worked the count to 1-2 before missing high with her fourth pitch of the at bat to Jernie Padasdao. However, she came right back with a fast ball down the middle to freeze Padasdao for strike three.
"I just shook that off and I just tried to stay back more," said Horita, who credited her teammates and the 50 or so Kalani fans that were in attendance for keeping her going.
"I think the dugout really made it better because the dugout was really alive. All the supporters, all the fans were really cheering," she said.
Horita then got Syd Boyd to strike out looking for the second out of the inning before Brie Allyn Valenciano flied out to center field, where April Kochi made a basket catch to preserve the perfect game.
Meanwhile, the Falcons' bats rapped out 10 runs on 10 hits. Four different players — Shandi Matsumoto, Kylie Pagud, Ibara and Kochi — paired hits.
Kalani got on the board early with three first-inning runs. Matsumoto singled then moved into scoring position on a four-pitch walk to Ibara. A Pagud bloop-single to short left loaded the bases and Jazlyn Furuya's RBI sacrifice fly to right scored Matsumoto from third.
Ibara took third on the play before coming home on a wild pitch and an Aiea fielding error allowed Kochi to reach base and Pagud to score the third run of the frame.
Na Alii committed two errors in the inning and five for the game.
Pagud led off the bottom of the third inning with a sharp single to left field, but it was misplayed by Valenciano and resulted in a three-base error, allowing her to come all the way around to score.
Two batters later Kochi singled and eventually scored from first on a Harley Iwasaki double to extend the Kalani lead to 5-0.
Toni-Lynn Ibara hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning for the walk-off mercy rule win. Greg Yamamoto | SL
Ibara drove in Matsumoto with a two-out single in the fourth inning for an insurance run.
Matsumoto drove in Eeron Wong with an RBI single three batters into the bottom of the sixth before Ibara smacked a deep fly ball over the head of Aiea center fielder Mikayla Gonzales for a three-run home run, which induced the 10-run differential mercy rule and brought the game to a close.
"I just saw a ball coming like straight at me, so I was like, ‘Okay, it's a good pitch to hit,' and I just swung and hit it," said Ibara, a senior shortstop.
It was the first time this season that Kalani had to play beyond the minimum five innings. All five of their previous victories were by margins of 10-or-more runs and halted in the fifth inning. However, it was also marked their third game in two days.
The Falcons swept a doubleheader against Waipahu Monday afternoon.
"I guess I was kind of tired, but I knew my team needed me, so I just tried my best," said Horita, who pitched eight of the 10 innings against the Marauders and was the winning pitcher in both games.
"That was tough, but these girls, I going tell you now, they want it," Hussey said. "They want it bad. From the pitcher all the way to the last person on the bench they want to play, they want to be good and they've put in the time."
The game also served as a rematch of last year's league title game, which Aiea won by a score of 2-0 before going on to win the D2 state championship.
"I think it was a good redemption from last year," Horita said. "We were hungry for this game, yes, but all our bats were really alive and the defense did really good. They really had my back."
Aiea used three pitchers in the loss. Gonzales was charged with the loss after surrounding five runs, four earned, on five hits in two-plus innings of work.
The teams will face off again Thursday. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Aiea Field Annex.
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