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Epenesa imposed her will in season-opening win for Dragons




Tehani Epenesa

Honokaa softball  •   #12    

There was no stumble out of the gate for Tehani Epenesa and the Honokaa softball team last Friday.

The junior pitcher imposed her will in a 7-0 win for the visiting Dragons over Hilo at the Walter Victor Complex. It was the Big Island Interscholastic Federation opener for both teams.

Epenesa registered 14 strikeouts in a two-hit complete game. She walked three batters and did not allow a single base runner beyond second.

The 5-foot-8 right-hander threw first-pitch strikes to 16 of the 27 batters she faced and 68 of her 96 total pitches for strikes. She also induced six groundouts and one fly-ball out and stranded six runners on base.

Eleven of her strikeouts were swings-and-misses. She struck out the side (all swinging) in the bottom of the fifth — and ended an inning with a punch out three times.

"They were going after her pitches, mainly because they try to catch up from being behind in the count that they would have to swing at pitches that are not necessarily their pitches, so once she's ahead then she can work," Honokaa coach Virgil Agustin said of Epenesa, a third-year starter.

"To me it worked like a lot of her risers were working very (well) and her two off-speeds were working pretty good; that caught the batters off balance," Agustin said.

And then there's what Epenesa did with the bat.

Epenesa, the third batter in the Dragons' lineup, reached base in all four of her plate appearances and scored twice. She drew a walk, stole a base and eventually scored in the top of the first inning. Epenesa led off the third with a double and pumped a 2-1 pitch for a one-out double in the fifth. She jumped on the first pitch of her final at-bat for another double to lead off the seventh and later stole third before she crossed the plate for her second run scored on the day.

"She's a disciplined hitter and she's not for personal stats. If she can take the walk, she'll take the walk and we talked about what we're gonna do is all to benefit the team, so she understands that and she does that pretty well," Agustin went on. "She has a good bat and she knows she can hit it far but doesn't always do it and that's beneficial to the team if she places the hit instead of going for the big hit all the time."

The biggest factor in Epenesa's plate discipline, and overall growth as a player, has been her maturity this season.

"Last year she didn't come out as the leader (to start the season), but she kind of worked her way to be a leader," Agustin explained. "She's always one of the first ones here and she pushes the team when they need to be pushed and as far as physical-wise, she's only going to get better — she's been working with a pitching coach the past couple years now — but I would say the difference this year is just her maturity of being the leader of the team."

Epenesa's versatility has also served her and the team well over the past two-plus seasons. As a sophomore last year she was a Second Team All-Hawaii utility selection.

"At first she played more or less infield utility, including catching, but now we mostly utilize her as a pitcher and shortstop, but I've seen her play all the positions — and she's pretty good at it," Agustin said. "Last year she was our ace, she pitched most of the games. She did get a major injury last year — a come-backer to her ear and she took 12 stitches, but she came back and won the rest of the games and we went right into the postseason with her."

Honokaa posted a 14-7 record last year, including an 11-6 mark in the BIIF and finished fifth at the D2 state tournament.

Friday's win over the D1-Vikings was a good first step, Agustin said.

"We're all happy about it but we had a meeting (Monday) and we went over the game and I just told them don't be satisfied with their play, because we had things that we were supposed to have done but we didn't, but our practices until our next game we should be working on those, but it was a good win and a big relief that we got through at least this first game," he said.

Epenesa and the Dragons (1-0) are idle this week. They will visit Konawaena next Tuesday and Pahoa on March 21.

BASEBALL
Drew Basque, Konawaena — Batted 2 for 2 with a walk, home run, double, four RBI and three runs scored in a win over Kohala

Nate Heymann, Hawaii Prep — Struck out seven, walked none and did not allow a hit in three scoreless innings of relief in a win over Kau

Jayten Kamakea, Keaau — Walked twice, drove in three runs and tossed four scoreless innings of one-hit ball in a win over Hawaii Prep


BOYS VOLLEYBALL
Kaina Alvarez, Iolani — Had 15 assists, two kills and two digs in a two-set win over Mid-Pacific

Zak Burkett, Seabury Hall — Had 17 assists, four kills, one solo block and an ace in a three-set win over Lanai

Kalai Anderson, Seabury Hall — Had 14 kills, one dig and an ace in a three-set win over Lanai

Jordan Cordero, Konawaena — Had 13 assists in a three-set win over Ehunui

Jim Macabingual, Konawaena — Had 12 kills in a three-set win over Ehunui

Tyler Russell, Seabury Hall — Had 12 digs and three assists in a three-set win over Lanai

Leion Van Osdol, Mid-Pacific — Had 12 assists, two digs and a kill in a two-set loss to Iolani


GIRLS WATER POLO
Gabby Andersh, Le Jardin — Scored four goals in a win over Mid-Pacific II

Grace Blaskowski, Kalaheo — Scored four goals in a win over Kailua

Sarah Blichfeldt, Punahou II — Scored four goals in a win over PAC-5

Zoe Carmack, Kalaheo — Scored four goals in a win over Kailua

Sofia Chergui, Le Jardin — Scored four goals in a win over Mid-Pacific II

Keelia Choi, Campbell — Scored four goals in a win over Moanalua

Miya Chung, Pearl City — Scored four goals in a loss to Mililani

Ava Faria, Campbell — Scored four goals in a win over Moanalua

Logan Harris, Kahuku — Scored four goals in a win over Kailua

Mehana Leafchild, Punahou II — Scored four goals in a win over Mid-Pacific II

Bella McRae, Moanalua — Scored five goals in a loss to Campbell

Elilani Petko, Mid-Pacific II — Scored five goals in a loss to Le Jardin

Kayla Smith, Kahuku — Scored four goals in a win over Waialua

Ella Turner, Kamehameha — Scored five goals in a win over Mid-Pacific

Lisette Zapata, Mililani — Scored five goals in a win over Pearl City


SOFTBALL
Nohea Akana, Radford — Batted 2 for 3 with a triple, double, walk, two RBI and three runs scored and allowed one earned run on two hits with 10 strikeouts and six walks in a complete-game win over Kalaheo

Jazzy Allen, Mid-Pacific II — Batted 2 for 4 with a home run, four RBI, a stolen base and four runs scored in a win over Kamehameha II

Lauren Almeida, Kamehameha-Maui — Batted 4 for 5 with a home run, five RBI and four runs scored in a win over Lahainaluna

Chloe Chun, Maryknoll II — Batted 5 for 5 with two doubles, an RBI and three runs scored in a win over Mid-Pacific

Satsuki Dumlao, Maui — Hit two runs, walked once and drove in four runs in a win over Kamehameha-Maui

Tatum Guzman, Kapolei — Allowed one run on four hits with two strikeouts and one walk in a five-inning win over Leilehua

Sunny Halsey, Roosevelt — Allowed no runs on one hit with eight strikeouts and one walk in a five-inning win over Kaimuki

Aliya Harmon, Baldwin — Struck out seven, walked three and allowed one unearned run on one hit in a six-inning win over Lahainaluna

Liana Heshiki, Punahou — Batted 2 for 3 with a walk, two home runs and three RBI in a loss to Kamehameha

Kanoe-Mika Kahahane, Kamehameha-Maui — Batted 3 for 4 with two doubles, two RBI and a run scored in a loss to Maui

Keila Kamoku, Kamehameha — Batted 2 for 4 with two home runs and five RBI in a win over Punahou and batted 2 for 3 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored in a win over Maryknoll

Abrye Kapana, Punahou II — Batted 4 for 5 with a home run, two doubles, six RBI and three runs scored in a win over Kamehameha II

Kawai Kauahi-Raquel, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Batted 4 for 4 with a triple, double and an RBI in a win over Kealakehea

Zoey Lawrence, Waialua — Batted 2 for 4 with a home run, double, four RBI and three runs scored in a win over Kalaheo

Miquela Leopoldo, Kamehameha II — Batted 5 for 5 with a double, three RBI and a run scored in a loss to Punahou II

Jerzie Liana, Kapolei — Batted 3 for 4 with four RBI and two runs scored in a win over Leilehua

Dioni Lincoln, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Batted 3 for 5 with two rhone run, a double, five RBI and two runs scored in a win over Kealakehe

Kaylee Matsuda, Iolani — Batted 2 for 2 with five RBI, was hit by a pitch three times, stole three bases and scored three runs in a win over Sacred Hearts

Madison Mihata, Kapolei — Batted 3 for 5 with an RBI in a win over Campbell

Puakea Milbourne, Kapolei — Batted 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored in a win over Leilehua

Majesty Moisa, Kapolei — Batted 2 for 4 with a walk and a run scored and struck out seven, walked none and allowed three hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings pitched in a win over Campbell

Jaelyn Myers, Campbell — Batted 3 for 3 with two doubles, a walk, two RBI and a run scored in a win over Waianae

Alohilani Napalapalai, Waianae — Struck out 17, walked three and allowed three unearned runs on two hits in a complete-game win over Kapolei Charter

Rylee Nishimoto, Mililani — Batted 3 for 4 with a double, one sacrifice, an RBI and a run scored in a win over Pearl City

Alexis Oshiro, Kaiser — Homered, walked twice and drove in four runs in a win over Kailua

Kanilehua Pitoy, Roosevelt — Homered, drove in three runs and scored twice in a win over Kaimuki

Braiesey Rosa, Waianae — Batted 3 for 3 with a double, two RBI and was hit by a pitch in a win over Kapolei Charter

Taylor Sakamoto, Kekaulike — Batted 4 for 5 with a home run, triple and two runs scored in a loss to Maui

Lii Sulusi, Kamehameha — Hit two home runs and drove in four runs in a win over Maryknoll

Samantha Taga, Mid-Pacific — Hit two home runs and drew a walk in a win over Iolani

Taylor Takekawa, Castle — Homered, drove in five runs and scored twice in a win over Kaimuki

Kaeolani Takemura, Mid-Pacific — Hit two home runs and drove in four runs in a win over Iolani

Cherysh Wong, Waialua — Batted 4 for 4 with two RBI and four runs scored in a win over McKinley and batted 3 for 4 with two home runs, a walk, three RBI and three runs scored in a win over Kalaheo

Syan Yamamoto, Waipahu — Batted 5 for 8 with a home run, two triples, one double, a walk, eight RBI and seven runs scored in a win over Farrington

Jada Young, Moanalua — Allowed one run on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks in a complete-game win over Kalani



Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].


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