Hawaiian Electric Game of the Week
No. 1 Campbell captures seventh OIA crown


  



Sat, Apr 20, 2019 @ [ 7:00 pm ]


FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Leilehua 0 003000392
Campbell 0 0 2307X12141

W: Chloe Sales    L: Alyssa Abe

CAMP: Sanoe Samante 3-4 run 3 rbi HR; Chloe Sales 4.0 IP 1 ER 3 K
LEI: Kiana Domingo 2-4 run rbi dbl HR; Alyssa Abe 3.7 ER 3 ER 3 K


Though not as dramatic as its quarterfinals victory, resilient Campbell rallied to beat Leilehua, 12-3, Saturday night to capture its seventh Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I softball crown.

The Sabers (15-0), ranked No. 1 in ScoringLive's Top 10 Power Rankings since the first week, came from a 3-2 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and sealed the game with a seven-run sixth to deny the defending state champion Mules (9-6) in their fifth try for their first league crown before crowd of 300 at McKinley's Tigers Softball Stadium. It was Campbell's sixth rally when trailing in the fourth inning or later this season. In Thursday's 7-6 win in eight innings against Kapolei in the quarters, Campbell trailed 6-0 entering the sixth. 

"We have a really good bond," Campbell senior shortstop Alesia Ranches said of the team's resilience. "We're all on the same page, meaning that we all have the heart, we all want to win and we all have the mindset that we want to win."

Campbell will be one of four seeded teams for the DataHouse Division I state tournament that runs May 1-4 at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. The No. 4 Mules, third place Kaiser, fourth place and No. 5 Waianae and fifth place and No. 2 Roosevelt also secured state berths. Sixth-place Kapolei will play the Big Island runner-up on April 24 for the last berth at Kealakehe's field.

It was Campbell softball at its finest. The Sabers dominated in all phases: the 12 runs marked the fifth time they scored in double digits; pitching duo Nadia Delzer and Chloe Sales combined to hold the Mules to three runs after Leilehua combined for 30 in two previous games; the defense thwarted a delayed double steal to end a first-inning threat and first baseman Liana Nagamine snared a screaming liner off the bat of Jacelyn Kepaa to turn an unassisted double play with the bases loaded in the fifth.

"Before the game, they always talk about, ‘Stay strong, no matter what happens, just play and have fun.'" Campbell coach Shag Hermosura said. "We stressed a lot of defense and defensively, we've done that. Of course, we did hit the ball today. It was one of those days when things came together at the end."

Once again, the pitching tandem of Delzer and Sales kept the Sabers in the game. All season when one could not complete a start, the other would finish for her. Except for a solo home run by Kiana Domingo, Delzer pretty much kept the Mules at bay. In three-plus innings, Delzer was charged with two runs, three hits and two walks with two strikeouts. Sales came in with a runner on first with no out in the fourth and eventually gave up a two-run single by Kawena Kahana-Travis that gave Leilehua a brief 3-2 lead. Sales filled the bases in the fifth, but escaped with an inning-ending unassisted double play by Nagamine. Sales the retired six of the last seven batters she faced.

"She hit her spots," Hermosura said of Sales, a junior left-hander and All-Hawaii second-team selection as a sophomore. "She made her ball move. I wanted to see how far Nadia could go. Chloe knew her role. When she comes in as a reliever, she throws a better game."

What makes this title a little more special is that Hermosura employed five first-year starters, four of them seniors who patiently bided their time as reserves the previous seasons. Each of the first-year starting seniors contributed with an RBI or run scored. First baseman Nagamine had an RBI single, left fielder left fielder Michaela Fonoti batted 1 for 2 with a run scored and sacrifice fly, and right fielder Hoku Pacheco singled and scored a run. But designated player Sanoe Samante delivered the big blow: a two-run homer that helped Campbell regain the lead she was 3 for 3 with three RBI. 

"I was thinking, ‘I had to score the runner, no matter if it's gap shot, as long as I advanced the runner or scored the runner so it felt pretty good I had the home run. It was a surprise that I got it,'" Samante said of her third homer of the season. 

The fifth first-year starter is sophomore second baseman Jayda Favela, who batted 3 for 4 with a steal to give her a Division I state-leading 19 for the season.

The four returning starters - all seniors - showed the first-year starters the way. Leadoff hitter and center fielder Seaerra Fuentes-Arellano batted 3 for 3, walked and stole four bases. Shortstop Ranches blasted a three-run homer in the Sabers' seven-run sixth ("I was surprised it was over because I got jammed, but it felt great because I was doing bad."). Catcher Dyllan Sanay-Shiraishi walked twice and drove in a run. Third baseman Caisha Nunes singled and scored a run.

"As a returnee, you have to lead the team more because it's all their first time," Ranches said. "But we work hard to get them on the same page as us and make them just as hungry as we are."

Hermosura said he is sort of surprised as the team's success despite having more than half the lineup starting for the first time.

"It is a surprise," he said. "But they put in the hard work and know what's to be done offensive, defensively. Again, any given day anybody can win and that's one thing we don't to happen. We just want to stay on up, get the ‘W,' no matter how we win the game. I told them we'll be all right as long as we play great defense and hit along with the opposing team and we should be all right."

Leilehua starting pitcher Alyssa Abe went three-plus innings before giving way to Kylee Ancheta-Maeda, who pitched 2 2/3 innings of relief and gave up eight runs. Abe reentered the game to get the last two outs. Abe was charged with allowing four runs (three earned) in 3 2/3 total innings.

One of the keys for Campbell was retiring the No. 2 batter in Leilehua's lineup to end innings three times so that Domingo would lead off three times instead of batting with runners on base. She homered, doubled and struck out. In her only at-bat with a runner on, she flied out to deep right. Mikayla Pinera, the No. 9 hitter, batted 3 for 3 for the Mules.



Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at [email protected].


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