Hawaiian Electric Game of the Week
Knights rally past fifth-ranked Rough Riders in walk-off fashion


Sat, Mar 14, 2020 @ [ 3:00 pm ]

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Roosevelt 3 000000350
Castle 0 0 01003451

W: Ashaiya Lopes    L: Sunny Halsey

CAST: Brianne McCabe 1-3 2 rbi dbl; Ashaiya Lopes 7.0 IP 3 ER 3 K
ROOS: Angel Ching 1-3 run 3 rbi HR; Sunny Halsey 6.3 IP 3 ER 7 K

KANEOHE — Brianne McCabe's bases-loaded double with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted host Castle to a 4-3 win over No. 5 Roosevelt in walk-off fashion Saturday afternoon.

The Knights (3-0) tallied three of their five total hits in the final frame and overcame an early three-run deficit to take over sole possession of first place in the Oahu Interscholastic Association's Division I East standings.

The Rough Riders (2-1) were held scoreless after Hoku Ching's three-run home run in the top of the first inning and dealt their first loss on the year to fall into a tie for third place.

Roosevelt pitcher Sunny Halsey was firmly in command for much of the contest. The junior was perfect through three innings and had seven strikeouts through six.

The Rough Riders held a 3-1 lead to start the seventh. However, Ashaiya Lopes and Kaila Berinobis-Tanele sandwiched singles around an eight-pitch walk to pinch hitter Kylie Karimoto to load the bases for another pinch hitter in Promise Manalo.

Manalo fell behind 0-2 in the count then fouled off a pitch before putting Halsey's next offering into play. Halsey fielded the weak dribbler, but had no one to throw to at first base and Lopes scored on the play.

Halsey then retired Juliana Berinobis-Keanu for the first out on an infield pop-up, but the bases remained loaded for McCabe, who was 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a groundout leading up to her final at-bat.

The right-handed McCabe swung easy at Halsey's first offering and placed a soft base hit into short right field that easily scored both the tying and winning runs in Taylor Takekawa and Berinobis-Tanele, respectively.

"I just knew I had to get it on the opposite side of the field, which we practice that a lot — going oppo — especially on a fast pitcher because we know we can't get our hands around that fast, so I just saw it come on the outside and I just threw my hands out and it went out," said McCabe, a junior catcher.

Berinobis said McCabe executed the situational hitting to perfection.

"All the time we try to cut the field in half because the girl was throwing too hard to try and get around on her, so let's just go work on one side of the field and she did that that inning and what a job, what a great job," he said.

Berinobis was also complimentary of both Karimoto and Manalo for coming through in unfamiliar roles.

"The two pinch-hitters, it was the first time being put in those situations. They've been asked to come up to bat when we were ahead, but now we're chasing and again, that goes back to practices, seeing how they're improving and see if they're adjusting to what we're trying to do and now put ‘em out there and see if they can go ahead and come through," Berinobis said. "They had good at-bats and that's what we needed out of them: at least put the ball in play and something can happen,"

The Knights got a gritty effort out of Lopes in the pitching circle. The junior was tagged for three runs on three hits after the first four batters she faced, but Lopes allowed just one baserunner to reach scoring position the rest of the way.

"After that first inning, that big blow, she could have fell apart, but no, she kept her composure and she started pitching well," Berinobis said.

Berinobis said that Lopes took a big step in her maturation as a pitcher Saturday.

"She needs to become a pitcher and you can see it, it's happening now because she's more composed up there," he said. "She's not trying to throw it by ‘em, so I credit her, she did a great job pitching."

Lopes struck out three batters and walked two. She recorded 13 fly-ball outs to just four ground-outs.

"I was just letting my defense get all the balls, instead of just going at it with (the batters)," Lopes said. "I just had to think like a pitcher: pitch my pitches, hit my spots and keep it away from the hit zone."

Lopes improved to 3-0 on the season and lowered her ERA to 4.42.

"She did really good today again, like last week she did really good as well. She's just a really focused pitcher," McCabe said. "She's really good and she just knows what to do in certain situations and she calms herself down even if the stress level is high."

Halsey walked three and allowed five hits in 6 1/3 innings of work. She is now 2-1 on the year with a 1.62 ERA.

"She was really good, probably one of the faster ones we saw yet here on the East side," Berinobis said. "She threw really hard and she mixed it up well and we just had to try and cut the field in half and try and eliminate some of the stuff they were doing up at the plate, and we just got lucky — you need luck, too. Some of the balls bounced our way, so that kind of helped."

After Lopes struck out Fayth Kawamura to open the game, she allowed back-to-back singles by Riley Doi and Kanilehua Pitoy before Ching crushed a pitch that split the outfielders in right-center. With no outfield fencing in place, all three Roosevelt players scored easily.

"It was tough, but we kept in there," Lopes said of the first inning.

McCabe, Lopes's batterymate behind the plate, said the pair learned a lot from the opening frame.

"We learned that you can't take it for granted if you're two (strikes) ahead, so you have to keep going hard, hard, even if you're ahead in the count because they're expecting that one and if we give them that one, like we did that inning, they're gonna just hit it away as they did," McCabe said.

Castle scratched across its first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Mia Thompson led off the inning with a walk then moved into scoring position on a ground out. A single to center off the bat of Lopes moved Thompson over to third, but Lopes got caught in a run-down between first and second that allowed Thompson to come home.

"Well, a win is a win, but yeah, that's a great win because Roosevelt is always tough," Berinobis said. Roosevelt every year after year after year they just come to play ball and they got good ballplayers."

McCabe credited her teammates for their perseverance after the shaky start.

"That (first) inning we let off a little bit and it showed how much they can hit, but as we came back, we came back, battled, battled and then we never gave up at the end and that's how we got the win, we just didn't give up," said McCabe, who believes the victory will serve as a confidence-booster for the team going forward.

"It shows us that we can compete with anyone and we just have to keep going harder and harder, don't take anyone lightly, and hopefully, if we do continue, we'll make it past OIAs and we know that we can compete with anyone," she said.

Lopes agreed: "It proves to ourselves that we can get far this season."

How far, however, is out of their hands at this point.

With the HHSAA's announcement that all interscholastic competition will be suspended from Monday through the indefinite future, the rest of the Knights' season is up in the air.

"It's sad, it's really sad, but we're just trying to take it day-by-day," McCabe said. "Hopefully we will continue the season. Hopefully our break won't be too long, but we'll still be practicing and working out because we want to continue our season and if and when we do, we'll still be ready and in top shape."

Berinobis said his players are taking the news in stride.

"Well, I talked to the girls yesterday about this and it's just something that everybody has to do," he said. "We all gotta go through it and the most important thing for us now is to just try and be safe, stay healthy and if the leagues decide to come back and play, then we come back and we just try to stay in shape and stay ready to play if they do decide to come back and play."

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].

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