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Prep Football Preview Special
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveMarch 10, 2020, 9:17pm
Tue, Mar 10, 2020 @ [ 3:00 pm ]
W: Joie Baker L: Tatum Guzman
MIL: MacKenzie Kila 2-3 2 runs 2 rbi HR; Joie Baker 7.0 IP 0 ER 3 KKAP: Ellie Ishikawa 2-2; Majesty Moisa 3.0 IP 0 ER
MILILANI — Joie Baker scattered four hits and pitched a complete game to lead Mililani to a 5-0 win over visiting Kapolei in Oahu Interscholastic Association softball Tuesday afternoon.
The Trojans (2-0), ranked third in the ScoringLive/Hawaiian Electric Power Rankings, leapfrogged the top-ranked Hurricanes (2-1) with the victory to move into first place in the ultra-competitive Division-I West.
Baker, a junior right-hander, picked up her second win of the season in as many starts.
In Mililani's only other game so far this season — a 7-5 win at Pearl City a week ago — Baker went three innings before she eventually gave way to reliever Serenity Jackson. Jackson and another reliever, Dani Monroe, each pitched two innings of relief against the Chargers.
Baker got through Tuesday's test against the Hurricanes — who were coming off of an 11-inning win over two-time defending league champion Campbell late Saturday night — on her own, at least, in the pitching circle, and her teammates backed her up with error-free defense and some timely hitting at the plate.
"It's a good win for us," said Trojans coach Rose Antonio, whose team had their previously-scheduled game against Leilehua last Friday postponed due to inclement weather.
"We haven't played for over a week and it was a slow start. We had to make little adjustments, but we scored runs when it was needed and that was great for us," Antonio said.
Mililani scored four of their runs with two outs, including MacKenzie Kila's two-run homer that was part of a three-run third inning and Tia Dumlao's double that plated a pair of insurance runs in the fifth.
"It's very helpful for us, I mean, we have to score runs and sometimes the runs are scarce, so you gotta take it when you get it and take advantage of that," Antonio said.
The Trojans had runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the first inning, but failed to score; Kila's infield pop-up was the third out. But Kila learned from her first at-bat and parlayed that knowledge into her two-run blast over the fence in left-center off of Kapolei starting pitcher Tatum Guzman her next time up.
"I realized that (Guzman), she goes change-up and then her fastball and I needed to wait and adjust to her speed," Kila said. "I waited on the first pitch (of her second AB) to see what it's like, but the home-run pitch was a fastball, inside and insides are my best pitch, so it was pretty juicy for me."
Kila's round-tripper scored Paige Nakashima, who drew a two-out walk to get aboard, and gave her team a 3-0 lead.
Rylee Nishimoto started things off in the third with her one-out double to right field. Nishimoto continued on to third on a fielding error on the play and soon after came home on a throwing error when catcher Larchelle Tuifao's pick-off throw to third sailed high and into left field.
Antonio said Kila's homer provided some breathing room in a tight ballgame.
"That was great for us and for MacKenzie. I think coming up (with) two outs and hitting the two-run homer, I mean, gave us a little cushion so it was good and it's a good confidence-builder for our youngsters," Antonio said.
The Trojans added a couple more insurance runs with a two-out rally in the fifth. Nakashima worked the count full before taking ball four. Pinch runner Madison Abrazado went from first to third on a single off the bat of Kila one batter later, before Dumlao brought both base runners in to score with her double to the fence in left-center to close out the scoring.
"That was like a strong moment where we knew that we had it in the bag if we just shut ‘em out and we just keep the momentum going," Kila said of Dumlao's extra-base knock.
Baker allowed just one Kapolei baserunner, Tuifua, to reach third. Tuifua led off the top of the second inning with a single. She moved into scoring position on a Baker wild pitch and tagged up on a fly-ball out to get to third. However, she was caught too far off the bag after a Baker pitch and eventually erased on a 2-5-1 putout.
Baker escaped another mini-jam in the third. After she walked Ellie Ishikawa to lead off the inning, Baker got Alexis Ramelb to pop-up on a bunt attempt back to her. Baker then threw to second baseman Jordan Okumura, who was covering first base on the play, to double-up Ishikawa.
"She did really good, mixed it up, she walked four batters and then we came out with good defensive plays and that helped us out a great deal. The defense played well today," Antonio said. "We had some double plays that got us out of the inning and that was great to see from our defense, especially for helping our pitcher out."
Baker struck out three batters. She threw 50 of her 87 total pitches for strikes and first-pitch strikes to 14 of the 26 batters she faced.
"I think it's good for her, it's a confidence-booster," Antonio said. "We'll see from here. We've got a lot of games ahead of us and hopefully we'll get better."
For the season, Baker has allowed one run on five hits in 10 innings of work and has an ERA of 0.70.
"Honestly, it kind of showed us like what we can do," Baker said of the win over the top-ranked Hurricanes. "It kind of set the bar for us and I think we did pretty well."
The teams will play again at Kapolei on Apr. 6.
The Hurricanes will look to get back in the win column when they host No. 4 Pearl City (1-1) Friday.
Mililani, the lone remaining undefeated team in the D1 West through less than two full weeks of play, will host No. 8 Leilehua (1-1) Thursday.
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