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Campbell to face Roosevelt for OIA D1 crown


KAKAAKO — Although No. 1 Campbell is the three-time defending D1 state softball champion, it has been five years since it won an Oahu Interscholastic Association crown.

The Sabers (11-3) will meet No. 9 Roosevelt (12-1) in a battle of top seeds for the OIA Championship, 7 p.m. Saturday at McKinley's Tiger Softball Stadium.

For Roosevelt, the drought has been even longer. The Rough Riders return to the title game for the first time since 2009, when they were the last Eastern Division team to take the league crown.

"It feels really good," Roosevelt interim coach Kris Fujii-Dias said. "The girls worked hard all season and they deserve it. They deserve the shot."

Campbell is 4-3 in OIA title games, their last coming in 2013. The Sabers have five OIA titles overall; they won the OIA's inaugural season by having the best record in an integrated (no divisions) format. Roosevelt is 1-1 in title games.

Since both were top seeds of their respective divisions, the teams used a coin toss to determine the home team for championship game. The Sabers will be home.

"Well, we're going to try again tomorrow," Campbell coach Shag Hermosura said of flagging that elusive league title, "and we're going to try in the state again. All it takes is a lot of hard work, discipline. This kind of game builds a lot of character for the team."

Mika Emoto RBI single scored Mari Foster in the bottom of the seventh inning for the walk-off win. Greg Yamamoto | SL    Purchase image

No. 9 Roosevelt 6, No. 2 Leilehua 5:

Mika Emoto's single scored Mari Foster from second base with one out in the bottom of the seventh to rally the Rough Riders in the first semifinal Friday at McKinley.

With one out, Foster doubled to right and Emoto lined a 1-2 pitch to right to score Foster to end the game.

"I needed it in a way to pick myself up," Emoto said. "I made a few errors in the beginning of the game and I felt I could not let my team down after I did that. I was in defensive mode (in the at-bat) because I had two strikes. I was trying to fend off everything and battling."

Jaeda Cabunoc pitched the distance but had one bad inning when the Mules sent nine batters to the plate in a four-run fifth. She also allowed a run in the fourth.

"I told them, 'you guys gotta fight, you gotta believe,'" Fujii-Dias said. "And they did it. That's all that matters."

But the Rough Riders returned the favor bringing up nine batters in a five-run bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 5. The big blow was Kanilehua Pitoy's bases-clearing double that tied the game and chased Mules' starting pitcher Kaena Nistal, who was charged with five runs, but only one earned in 4 2/3 innings. Alyssa Abe retired five of the first six batters she faced before giving up the double and run-scoring single in the seventh.

"It's pretty easy to get down on ourselves," Emoto said of the team's rally. "We had to pick ourselves up and push ourselves. It was not easy, when you fall behind, but I believed in my team and they believed in me. That sounds cliche, but it happens."

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at [email protected].

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