OIA Softball
Napalapalai homers, fans 17 to lead Seariders


Sat, Mar 7, 2020 @ [ 10:00 am ]

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Kapolei Charter 0 000300322
Waianae 0 1 0111X484

W: Alohilani Napalapalai    L: Leia Duropan

WNAE: Alohilani Napalapalai 2-3 run rbi HR / 7.0 IP 0 ER 17 K
KCS: Kalia Kekahuna-Fernandez 1-2 run dbl; Leia Duropan 6.0 IP 4 ER 6 K

WAIANAE — Aloha Friday was followed by Alohilani Saturday on the Leeward coast.

Alohilani Napalapalai hit a go-ahead solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to support her 17-strikeout performance and Waianae spoiled Kapolei Charter School's varsity debut in a 4-3 win at Ralph Onzuka Field.

"She was due at one time," Waianae coach Robert Kalaola said. "She can hit. She can carry this whole game on her shoulder."

The Seariders evened their record at 1-1 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I West after dropping their Tuesday season-opener at Campbell, 13-3, in five innings because of the mercy rule. The win was a much-needed booster for the Seariders.

"Very important," Napalapalai (1-1) said of the win, "because I didn't want to lose to them. We were doing so good until that one inning, but we bounced back."

Napalapalai was tagged for eight runs in four innings in the Campbell loss. This time, she pitched the distance, allowing three unearned runs, two hits and three walks.

"After the Campbell game, she put it back in the books and started working hard,"  Kalaola said.

Waianae's Alohilani Napalapalai throws a pitch to plate in the top of the first inning. Michael Lasquero | SL    Purchase image

The Seariders took a 2-0 lead into the top of the fifth when the Iwa pulled ahead with a three-run inning without the benefit of a hit. A walk and three Searider errors gave KCS its first lead of the season. Freshman Braiesey Rosa, who batted 2 for 3 with an RBI double, singled home Roxy Sousa in the bottom of the fifth the tie the game at 3. Sousa, who reached base three times, stole two bases and scored each time.

After retiring the Iwa in order in the top of the sixth — the only time Napalapalai did that in the game — she deposited an inside drop pitch from KCS starting pitcher Leia Duropan (0-1) over the left-center field fence with one out in the bottom of the sixth to put the Seariders ahead. Duropan was charged with four runs and eight hits in six innings.

"It felt great to help my team out today," said Napalapalai, who hit five home runs last season, "especially because of the last inning before that (when the Iwa scored)."

The Iwa, though, did not go down quietly. Kalia Kekahuna-Fernandez doubled with one out in the top of the seventh before Napalapalai struck out the next two batters to end the game. The only other hit Napalapalai allowed was a single to Kealiana Chung-Balecha in the fourth; she has the distinction of getting new program's first base hit.

Overshadowed in the dramatics was an incredible pitching performance by Napalapalai. The junior right-hander's 17 Ks were a career high. She had 15 strikeouts after five innings; one, though, reached on a wild pitch and is not recorded as a putout.  She struck out seven of the first nine batters she faced with the other two drawing walks. The first Iwa to put the ball in play was Kekahuna-Fernandez, who hit a foul-fly out to left in the third inning.

"I was just focusing on hitting my spots, nothing else," said Napalapalai, whose last previous high was 10 strikeouts against Pearl City last year.

Napalapalai's moved her pitches around, keeping the Iwa guessing.

"She just kept us off-balance," KCS coach Garrick Asato said. "Throwing the rise ball and the off-speed outside. Our girls' timing was off today. It's one of those days. We have to get back to the drawing board, work hard."

Although disappointing with the loss, Asato feels good about the team. The Division I West has historically been the toughest division in the state, having claimed the past 10 OIA titles and six of the past 10 state championships.

"This is a good learning lesson for (our players)," Asato said. "We have to continue working hard, get ready for the next game."

Next up for KCS is Leilehua, while Waianae visits Pearl City. Both games are 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at [email protected].




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