ILH Softball
Warriors outslug Buffanblu in season opener


  



Wed, Mar 4, 2020 @ [ 4:00 pm ]


FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Punahou 0 003022760
Kamehameha 1 0 3203X9101

W: Maddie Rabe    L: Ashanti Martinez    SV: Reese Mokuau

KSK: Keila Kamoku 2-4 2 runs 5 rbi 2 HR; Maddie Rabe 5.3 IP 5 ER 3 K
PUN: Liana Heshiki 2-3 2 runs 3 rbi 2 HR; Justice Tiberi 3.0 IP 3 ER


KAPALAMA HEIGHTS — Kamehameha and Punahou totaled eight home runs to start the Interscholastic League of Honolulu regular season off to a bang as the Warriors squeezed by the Buffanblu, 9-7, Wednesday afternoon on Kamehameha's Intermediate Field.

Juniors Liana Heshiki and Keila Kamoku each bombed a pair of dingers for Punahou and Kamehameha, respectively.

Buffanblu underclassmen Asia Lee and Shonty Passi also had hits leave the playable field, but it all got started with Alyssa Mahoe's lined shot over the right-center field to lead off the bottom of the first inning to put the Warriors up 1-0.

"Mountain air or something," Punahou coach David "Boy" Eldredge said, joking about the home run blasts from both teams. "Yeah, balls were flying. Some went out quick, some were on a line. It just kept on going."

Mahoe again led off the bottom of the third inning and took the first pitch for a ride but was robbed by center fielder Tiani Wayton's snag over the collapsible fence. Still, the Warriors added three more runs in the inning on Kamoku's first homer and an RBI double down the left-field line from Destiny Lum.

Sophomore Maddie Rabe got the start in the pitching circle for the Warriors and made quick work of the Buffanblu through the first three innings. But Punahou responded with three runs from Heshiki's and Passi's homers to make it a one-run game.

"Her movement and what we needed against a great team like Punahou that can hit," Kamehameha coach Leo Sing Chow said of starting Rabe. "We knew we needed some movement and some different things and she's been looking good throughout the week."

Back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom half of the fourth caused Punahou to make a pitching change with freshman Justice Tiberi coming in for starter Ashanti Martinez.

Kamehameha extended its lead to make it 6-3, and the score remained until the top of the sixth when Heshiki and Lee went yard back to back, causing the Warriors to bring senior Reese Mokuau into the pitching circle.

Reese Mokuau (22) came in for relief duty and pushed through five walks given up to notch the save and seal the Warriors' season-opening win. Spencer Honda | SL    Purchase image

Mokuau proceeded to load the bases but got Mia Hashimoto to go down swinging to leave the runners stranded.

In the latter half of the inning, Kamehameha seemed to put an exclamation point on their lead with a towering three-run bomb from Kamoku that cleared the outer field's chain link fence in deep centerfield.

"When we were on defense, it was super close and I was tensing a little," Kamoku said. "When I got up to bat I was like, 'I'm either going to hit it past the infield or over the fence.' I saw that pitch and I said, 'I'm going to take it,' and it just happened."

Kamoku totaled five RBIs off her two home runs — both coming in clutch situations when the Warriors held a narrow one-run lead. A fine showing for the junior shortstop who felt she had something to prove after her playing time at catcher was minimized during the latter part of last season.

"Last year I had to sit. It was not good because I had to sit like half of the last season, but it pushed me," Kamoku said. "Coming into this game I was like, 'OK this is going to be my debut. I'm going to show everyone why I belong out here and starting.'"

Keila Kamoku is greeted at home plate by Kamehameha teammates after blasting her first home run of the game in the third inning. Spencer Honda | SL    Purchase image

With Punahou's last chance in the seventh, Mokuau again loaded the bases and surrendered a pair of runs, but with the go-ahead run at the plate, the senior induced a fly ball to end the game and notch the save.

"Maddie did a really good job starting so I thought it would be just a waste if that got thrown away," Mokuau said. "I had to keep telling myself, 'my coaches put me here. My job is to close,' so I have to keep thinking about that. Just do my job."

Mokuau is a veteran in pitching circle, having totaled 105.0 innings pitched since her freshman year.

The Warriors also had junior Momi Lyman (92.0 innings) warming up if she was needed.

"I do have a handful of pitchers and they're all very different. It kind of depended on what the situation was," Sing Chow said. "But for that one, yup, it felt like [Mokuau] was the right one to put in to fight for that. Senior year; it was a chance to step up and she pushed through that."

Kamehameha (1-0) will next travel to Sand Island to play Maryknoll (1-0) Saturday at 10 a.m. while Punahou (0-1) will host Sacred Hearts (0-1) Friday at 4 p.m.

"I think this really set the tone for our season," Mokuau said of defeating the defending ILH champions. "We were kind of worried before, but I think today just insured us that we're going to do pretty good."



Reach Spencer Honda at [email protected].


ADVERTISEMENT


IMAGE GALLERY



MORE STORIES

Raiders rose to the occasion for sixth straight D2 title in 2012

Iolani scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:53 to play and overcame 441 rushing yards by Lahainaluna...

Tagovailoa-Amosa anchors No. 2 Notre Dame's defensive front

The 2017 Kapolei graduate from Ewa Beach is in his second season as a starter for the undefeated Fighting...

Kahuku alum Kaniho excels on the field, in the classroom for Broncos

The 2016 All-Hawaii Open Division Defensive Player of the Year and Boise State senior nickelback has...

Vikings reached top of the mountain in historic 2017 season

Hilo became the first neighbor island school to claim a D1 state football championship with its come-from-behind...

Rams readied for Wildcats, raucous atmosphere in 2015

Radford's road to the D2 state title that season was nearly blocked by a pesky Konawaena squad in the...

Top-ranked Longhorns rolling with Gabriel at the controls

The 2018 Maryknoll graduate and two-time All-Hawaii pick is in her second season as the starting setter...