Hawaiian Electric Game of the Week
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."

Every Saber starting either scored a run, drove in a run or reached safely with at least a walk in their win over the Hurricanes. Greg Yamamoto | SL

No. 1 Campbell 11, No. 3 Kapolei 1:

Alesia Ranches drove in four runs to back the one-hit pitching of Chloe Sales to lead the Sabers in the second semifinal Friday night in a game shortened because of the 10-run differential mercy rule. It was the second game in as many days the Sabers finished off an opponent before the regulation seven innings. They beat Mililani, 11-1, in Thursday's quarterfinals.

Sales, a sophomore left-hander, commanded her pitches against the same Hurricanes that tagged her for eight runs (albeit six unearned) in an 11-3 loss on March 29. She faced only two batters shy of the minimum and only one batted ball got past the infield. In fact, it left the park when Lili Kaimi-Montiro spoiled the perfect game and shutout with a lead-off home run to right-center in the top of the fourth inning. Aside from one strikeout, Sales recorded 14 outs on grounders, eight to the flashy-fielding second baseman Trinity Favela, who robbed Kawena Hussey of a possible hit with a diving stop toward second base and making the throw to first from her knees.

"She was throwing that curve drop ball," Hermosura explained about the ground ball outs. "Couple times (I called for) the changeup. I'm glad it worked."

Every Saber starting either scored a run, drove in a run or reached safely with at least a walk.

Dyllan Sanay-Shiraishi hit a two-run home run after Chloe Domingo's RBI double in a three-run first against Kapolei starter Cira Bartolotti. Ranches' two-run double in the second made it 5-0.

After Kaimi-Montira's homer made it 5-1, the Sabers got that run back in the bottom of the fourth on Anastasia's RBI single that scored Ranches, who had walked and stolen second base.

The Sabers ended the contest with a five-run fifth that was ignited by Michaela Fonoit's lead-off home run to center. After back-to-back singles by Caisha Nunes and Favela, both scored on Ranches' triple to right. After Iosia walked, Ranches scored on Domingo's sacrifice fly to right to make it 10-1. Iosia moved to second when Sanay-Shiraishi grounded out to the pitcher and scored the game-ending run on Zoie Recolan's single to center.

The Sabers were selective against Bartolotti. Besides waiting for their pitches to hit, they drew six walks. They were not chasing risers.

"Our coach said lay off the high pitches, which was an illness to us," Ranches said. "Don't miss the bottom, hit gaps, doubles, score the runs."

It was the third consecutive game the Sabers had double-digit runs and hits. They have scored 34 runs combined in those games.

"I don't want to say we're reaching our peak right now because it's too early because we still have states, too," Ranches said. "But we're in a good position right now. I wouldn't say it's our peak because I know what we got is more."



Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at [email protected].


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