Hawaiian Electric Game of the Week
Saint Francis blanks KS-Hawaii for D2 title


  



Fri, May 11, 2018 @ [ 4:30 pm ]


F/5TH 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
KS-Hawaii 0 0000XX024
Saint Francis 6 2 11XXX1060

W: Sierrah Kupihea    L: Taylor-James Sullivan

SFS: Kailee Mahelona 2-3 2 runs 3 rbi HR; Sierrah Kupihea 5.0 IP 0 ER 4 K
KSH: Dioni Lincoln 1-2; Brooke Baptiste 3.6 ER 2 ER


MANOA — It took a year's time, but Saint Francis made the most of its second chance.

Kailee Mahelona batted 2 for 3 with three RBIs, including a first-inning two-run home run, and Sierrah Kupihea tossed a two-hitter to lead No. 5 Saint Francis to a 10-0 win over Kamehameha-Hawaii in five innings in the title game of the DataHouse/HHSAA Division II Softball State Championships at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium Friday afternoon.

The Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion Saints recorded their seventh consecutive win to finish with a 13-3 record and lay claim to their second state crown in program history, their first since 2005.

The Warriors, seeded second and champions of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation, fell to 20-4.

The monumental victory came a year after Saint Francis suffered a devastating 4-3 loss to Aiea that went down to the wire.

Saint Francis coach Randy Langsi said his team drew inspiration from that defeat.

"I think about two weeks ago we actually made them watch that championship game from last year," Langsi said. "Of course, they were reluctant. Nobody wanted to watch it so we watched parts of the game. I wanted to watch the last three outs of that Aiea game last year to kind of get that feeling of why we're here in the first place, to come back and to compete."

The Saints' road to the title was not an easy one. After routing Kohala and Molokai in their first two state tournament games, they rallied from a four-run deficit in a hard-fought 8-7 walk-off victory over Konawaena in Thursday's semifinals.

"(Thursday's) game was actually a wake-up call. Konawaena was actually a good team. Their pitcher was very good, so it scared us and woke us up. I mean, elimination was right there, so I think it helped us today," Langsi said. "When you get scared like that and your season is almost over, you know, you got a second chance almost — I guess you can call it that almost."

Kailee Mahelona batted 2 for 3 with three RBIs, including a first-inning two-run home run. Michael Lasquero | SL    Purchase image

There was no need to rally Thursday.

Saint Francis posted a six-run first inning, when it sent nine batters to the plate and benefitted from a pair of Kamehameha-Hawaii errors.

Kaena Keliinoi reached on an error before Mahelona cranked an 0-2 pitch from Warriors starting pitcher Taylor-James Sullivan deep over the fence in left center.

"The first pitch I didn't swing at it — it was high — and it was out of my zone, I thought, and then next pitch I saw it was outside and I just thought, ‘just go with it,' and I missed, but I told myself, ‘it's OK, I got it. Just breathe,' and then I saw my inside pitch and I just took it and I drove it," said Mahelona, a junior left fielder.

Joelle Perreira, Jordyn Lono and Kaitlyn Kalani each followed with RBI-singles in the inning.

Skye Ah Yat's two-out RBI-bloop single to left scored both Mahelona and Sammie Ofoia to stretch the Saint Francis lead to 8-0 after two innings.

The Saints added insurance runs on Mahelona's RBI-single in the third and Hailey Matsumura's RBI-ground out in the fourth to close out the scoring.

Mahelona said it was the team's best all-around performance of the season.

"I think so because this is the overall game that we wanted to get to this whole time — this whole year — was this championship game because we just worked so hard and we wanted it this year more," Mahelona said.

Kupihea, a junior right-hander, allowed a total of just five base runners. She overcame two walks and had four strikeouts to improve to 11-3 on the season.

"I mean, she's a fighter. She's going to complete," Langsi said. "She's extremely competitive; that's just the way she is. In fact, the whole team is that way. They're a very competitive bunch, but as far as (Kupihea) goes, she's a smart pitcher. She's maturing a lot over the period of three years and this season, so she's gotten much better and she's going to get better."

Kupihea induced 10 fly-ball outs to just one ground out.

"She throws like this mean riser and sometimes it'll screw-rise, so it's like a 'scrise,' is what she says, so if like a batter hits it, they pop it up and it makes it easy for us to catch it," Mahelona said.

With only two Division II teams in the ILH this season, Saint Francis played an integrated schedule against the league's D1 teams and went unseeded in the state tournament, meaning it had to win four games in four days.

"It's a lot of work for a small school," Langsi said. "I mean, we don't have a lot of facilities, but we have to be creative and not look for excuses and you know, it's a lot of work. It's a lot of work for a small school. It means a lot because all the effort that the parents put, and the administration, and the girls, and the coaches. It's a collective teamwork and that's the only way it's going to work, so it's huge. It's inspiring and it's awesome."

The game was a rematch of a state semifinal won by Saint Francis last year, 9-0.

"We knew we were coming into a tough game and Saint Francis is a tough team and we told the girls not to put any pressure on themselves — just play hard and have fun — and they had fun," Warriors second-year coach Akeamakamae Kiyuna said. "I told them, if they leave it all out on the field, win or lose, they're going to have a good day and I think they had a good day, considering."

Sullivan allowed six runs, three earned, on two hits and three walks in just one-third of an inning. Brooke Baptiste was charged with four runs, two earned, on four hits with one strikeout in 3 2/3 innings of relief.

Sullivan took the loss to fall to 5-2 on the year. It was just her seventh pitching appearance this season and first since Apr. 28.

Baptiste threw a complete-game victory over Honokaa Wednesday and got the save in relief of Jessica Cameros in Thursday's semifinal win over Kalani.

"We didn't really give (Sullivan) the start much this season and being one of the leaders on the team, I told her to ‘give us whatever you can. It's your last game in this uniform. Whatever happens just give whatever you can' and it's not like we don't have a plan B if something does happen," Kiyuna said. "She was hitting her (spots), but (Saint Francis) was just making great hits, so you couldn't ask for a better game."

Ofoia was selected as the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. She was joined by Kupihea, Ah Yat, Mahelona and Perreira on the all-tournament team.

"It means a lot," Mahelona said. "We've come up short in years past and I think that this year we just finally realized that this is it, we want it more this year, this is our year and we just kept each other up."

Kamehameha-Hawaii, which was seeking its first state softball crown, was represented by Baptiste, Sullivan, Cameros and infielder Dioni Lincoln on the all-tournament team.

-----

DataHouse/HHSAA Division II Softball All-Tournament Team
as selected by the media and the HHSAA

P - Sierrah Kupihea, Saint Francis
P - Shaylann Grace, Konawaena
C - Jayla Medeiros, Konawaena
INF - Kieren Henderson, Waimea
INF - Dioni Lincoln, KS-Hawaii
INF - Toni-Lynn Ibara, Kalani
INF - Skye Ah Yat, Saint Francis
OF - Jessica Cameros, KS-Hawaii
OF - Taylor-James Sullivan, KS-Hawaii
OF - Kailee Mahelona, Saint Francis
U - Brooke Baptiste, KS-Hawaii
U - Kamaile Perreira, Saint Francis

Most Outstanding Player: Sammie Ofoia, Saint Francis



Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].


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