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Iriarte provided reliable relief for Chargers last week




Jo-Zayah Iriarte

Pearl City softball  •   #26    

No matter the sport, Jo-Zayah Iriarte tends to find a way to standout.

The 5-foot-6 junior did just that last week in a pair of wins for the Pearl City softball team last week. The right-handed Iriarte allowed just one earned run in 9 2/3 combined innings pitched and was the pitcher of record in both games for the Chargers.

In last Tuesday's 9-3 win over then-No. 7 Waianae, Iriarte surrendered only two hits and a walk, with two strikeouts in 4 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.

She once again entered in relief of starter Grace Kikuchi in Friday's 10-6 win over Kapolei, which sat atop the ScoringLive/Hawaiian Electric Power Rankings at the time. Iriarte struck out two, walked one and scattered six hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. Only one of the two runs she gave up were earned.

"I'd take ten Zayahs any day," Pearl City coach Chad Obara said. "She's the kind of player that every coach wants on the team. She's just a joy to coach, she's very responsive and just a good attitude and will do everything for the team."

Obara was most impressed by Iriarte's command of her pitches last week. She logged 35 of 55 total pitches (63.6%) against Waianae for strikes and 50 of 79 (63.3%) against Kapolei.

"Just the accuracy, the changing of speeds and it wasn't like she breezed through those things," Obara said.

He elaborated: "She had some easy innings, but there were some innings where she had to really reach back and facing dangerous hitters, too, so she had to be pretty damn good and pretty accurate and give her defense balls that they can handle — not screaming ground balls or shots over their head — so she's been doing a good job at getting manageable plays for her defense and the defense has been doing a good job behind her, so that makes her look even better, right?"

Obara said that what Iriarte lacks in velocity, she makes up with composure.

"I wouldn't say she's overpowering, I wouldn't say she has deadly movement or anything like that, but this girl, she's pretty accurate and she's able to stay calm all the time. Nothing really affects her, so she's always calm. Even when things are looking dire, the wheels are falling off, the ship is sinking — whatever you wanna call it — she's just gonna do her thing," Obara said. "She understands that certain things are out of her control and she's gonna do what she can do and things will happen."

Iriarte displayed much of the same even-keel approach as the starting goalkeeper for the Pearl City girls soccer team, which made a run to the semifinals of the Division I state tournament last month.

"I watched her on the soccer field this year and it's kind of the same: she's just gonna do her thing, she has some input on her stuff and some stuff she doesn't have control over and then the next thing, it's like a brand new day," Obara noted.

The deep postseason run by the Chargers on the soccer pitch meant Iriarte missed "the whole preseason pretty much," Obara said, but he pointed out an improved maturity level from the third-year varsity starter.

"I really don't know if she's as composed as she presents — because she's always been like that since her freshman year — but I think now it's more true and I think she's starting to realize that, well, hopefully realize that she's pretty good at sports in general. She did a pretty damn good job in the goal for soccer and with very little prep time she's had some success already on the softball side, so hopefully she's starting to figure it out and what level she's capable of being at," Obara said.

Iriarte has appeared as a pitcher in all three games to start the regular season and own a 2-0 record, with a 1.76 ERA, but she's also contributing on the offensive side with a .375 batting average.

She reached base safely in all four of her plate appearances against the Seariders. Iriarte, who bats fifth in the lineup, singled and drew three walks, she also stole a base and scored twice.

Iriarte batted 1 for 4 against the Hurricanes and has reached base safely in each game this year.

"She's got more power than people think, but she sometimes gets anxious offensively, so there's room for improvement, but execution-wise, she can do small-ball, she will hit behind runners, she'll do the team thing when called upon, so I like her in that spot and she does a good job," Obara said.

Furthermore, Iriarte brings versatility on defense, which gives Obara flexibility when crafting a lineup.

"Right now, when she's not pitching she's playing second base. Her first two years she played outfield and pitcher, but actually can play all nine positions," Obara said. "She even dabbles a little bit behind the dish, too."

Obara pointed out that Iriarte was only introduced to pitching two years ago.

"She only starting pitching her freshmen year, so that was her absolutely zero, but we needed to develop somebody and she was game and she seemed like a natural," he recalled. "She's just very talented; I'm pretty sure she could play volleyball and basketball (in addition to soccer and softball)."

Make no mistake, however, it's in the pitching circle where Iriarte can make the biggest impact for the Chargers this season.

"Every year I say the same thing: ‘Pitching and (defense) is gonna carry us,' " Obara said. "I think the past couple of years it's kind of shown — our pitching and D hasn't been up to what we're used to here at Pearl City, so it's been a struggle — (but) this year with the maturity level of the girls and the improvement from Jo-Zayah, it's looking better."

Obara reminisced about a number of high-scoring games last year that his team was on the wrong end of.

"We were losing a lot of games when we're scoring eight-plus runs, but right now it's going our way so that's kind of nice and the defense is really stepping it up and playing pretty damn solid. They've been making some spectacular plays that actually has saved us some runs, so everything is just kind of falling into place and working out," Obara said.

Whether Iriarte and the Chargers will get to resume their season, however, is anyone's guess. In response to the ever-evolving COVID-19 public health threat, all prep sports were put on pause Monday.

On Wednesday, the Hawaii State Department of Education extended the closure of all public schools until at least Apr. 7, which means any resumption of practices and games would not come until after that date, at the earliest.

"Just hopefully things turn out well and we can get rolling with this season in a couple weeks," Obara said. "I got three seniors and I'm sure they're looking forward to continuing this season, as are the rest of the seniors in the state, so hopefully things work out and everybody stays safe."

Pearl City (2-1) moved up a spot to No. 3 in this week's ScoringLive/Hawaiian Electric Power Rankings.


GIRLS WATER POLO
Azia Bjur, Waialua — Scored four goals in a loss to Campbell, scored seven goals in a win over Waipahu and scored four goals in a loss to Kalaheo

Keelia Choi, Campbell — Scored eight goals in a win over Waialua

Siitia Cravens, Kahuku — Scored five goals in a win over Moanalua

Taylor Dinsmore-Nassar, Leilehua — Scored five goals in a win over Mililani

Kuola Emmsley, Kekaulike — Scored eight goals in a win over Kamehameha-Maui

Leila Anne Figureoa-Kupahu, Castle — Scored four goals in a loss to Kalani

Ella Foehr, Kalaheo — Scored four goals in a win over Waialua

Christina Hicks, Punahou — Scored five goals in a win over Mid-Pacific

Mehana Leafchild, Punahou II — Scored four goals in a win over Kamehameha II

Noriko O'Shea, Kalani — Scored four goals in a win over Castle

Bella Otterson, Seabury Hall — Scored five goals in a loss to Baldwin

Andie Perreira, PAC-5 — Scored four goals in a loss to Le Jardin

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

Tenley Rena, Kalani — Scored six goals in a win over Castle

Ruby Robinson, Waialua — Scored four goals in a win over Waipahu

Puliki Rogers, Lahainaluna — Scored four goals in a win over Maui

Shaye Story, Kamehameha — Scored four goals in a loss to Iolani

Kaya Takashige, Leilehua — Scored five goals in a win over Mililani


SOFTBALL
Halanalai Acasio, Konawaena — Batted 2 for 4 with a home run, one sacrifice, three RBI and two runs scored in a win over Kau

Savanna Ah Mook Sang-Frank, Kailua — Batted 3 for 4 with three RBI, two stolen bases and a run scored in a win over Kaimuki

Nohea Akana, Radford — Batted 2 for 4 with a triple, three RBI, two stolen bases and three runs scored in a win over McKinley

Gianna Araki, Leilehua — Batted 3 for 4 with a home run, walk and three RBI in a win over Kapolei

Joie Baker, Mililani — Struck out three, walked four and allowed four hits in a complete-game shutout win over Kapolei

Allie Capello, Iolani — Batted 2 for 4 with a home run, four RBI, one stolen base and two runs scored and struck out two, walked two and allowed no hits in three scoreless innings pitched in a win over Kamehameha

Hope Carpenter, Kalaheo — Batted 2 for 5 with three RBI in a loss to Farrington

Angel Ching, Roosevelt — Batted 3 for 4 with two home runs, four RBI and three runs scored in a win over Kalani and hit a three-run home run in a loss to Castle

Kauilani Chun, Mid-Pacific — Batted 3 for 3 with a double, walk, three RBI, four stolen bases and three runs scored in a win over Sacred Hearts

Kyary Cummings, Kamehameha II — Struck out three, walked four and allowed one earned run on five hits in a complete-game win over Damien

Cairah Curran, Campbell — Batted 3 for 4 with two RBI and a stolen base in a win over Kapolei Charter

Keonaona Deboma, Nanakuli — Struck out four, walked one and allowed three runs on four hits in a five-inning win over Radford

Tia Dumlao, Mililani — Batted 2 for 3 with a double and two RBI in a win over Kapolei

Schaijah Faaola, Farrington — Batted 3 for 4 with a double, four RBI and a run scored in a win over McKinley

Alyssa Ferreira, Baldwin — Batted 3 for 4 with a double, RBI and two runs scored in a win over Maui

Taylor Fukunaga, Waipahu — Struck out six, walked one and allowed one earned run on four hits in a five-inning win over Radford and struck out five, walked none and allowed no hits in four-innings pitched and batted 3 for 3 with a home run, two doubles, five RBI and two runs scored in a win over Kalaheo

Jazlyn Furuya, Kalani — Batted 2 for 4 with a triple, double, three RBI and two runs scored in a win over Kailua

Jaymi Gurr, Kaiser — Struck out two, walked one and allowed one unearned run on four hits in a five-inning win over Kalani

Sunny Halsey, Roosevelt — Struck out four, walked three and allowed one run on two hits in six innings pitched and batted 3 for 3 with a double, walk, two RBI and a run scored in a win over Kalani

Tiari Hernandez, Pearl City — Batted 3 for 4 with two RBI, a stolen base and a run scored in a win over Kapolei

Liana Heshiki, Punahou — Homered and drove in four runs in a win over Sacred Hearts

Mahea Hetrick, Radford — Batted 2 for 4 with a home run, double, two RBI and four runs scored in a win over McKinley

Samantha Hite, Farrington — Batted 2 for 3 with a double, two walks, three RBI and three runs scored in a win over Kalaheo

Christen Horita, Kalani — Batted 3 for 4 with two home run, one triple and six RBI in a win over Kailua

Maddie Ibara, Mid-Pacific II — Batted 4 for 5 with two RBI, two stolen bases and two runs scored in a win over Punahou II

Taryn Irimata, Campbell — Struck out 11, walked none and allowed three hits in a complete-game shutout win over Kapolei Charter

Lili Kahoohanohano-Davis, Baldwin — Batted 3 for 4 with a home run, double, two stolen bases and four runs scored in a win over Maui

Braelynn Kaulu-Choy Foo, Pearl City — Batted 3 for 4 with a double, RBI, stolen base and three runs scored in a win over Kapolei

Pulisa Keovichith, Kalani — Batted 4 for 4 with three runs scored in a win over Kailua

Jacelyn Kepaa, Leilehua — Batted 2 for 2 with two home runs, two walked, six RBI, a stolen base and three runs scored in a win over Kapolei Charter

Kaikena Kiaaina, Kalaheo — Batted 2 for 4 with a triple, two walks, two RBI and three runs scored in a loss to Farrington

MacKenzie Kila, Mililani — Batted 2 for 3 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored in a win over Kapolei

Kellie Kitano-Maguire, Moanalua — Batted 2 for 4 with a home run, two RBI and a run scored in a loss to Castle

Makena Laa-Robles, Nanakuli — Batted 2 for 3 with a walk, two RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored in a win over Radford

Ashaiya Lopes, Castle — Struck out six, walked one and allowed four runs on eight hits in a complete-game win over Moanalua and struck out three, walked two and allowed three runs on five hits in a complete game and batted 2 for 3 with a run scored in a win over Roosevelt

Kealoha Machado, Kailua — Batted 3 for 4 with a home run, walk, two RBI, two stolen bases and two runs scored in a loss to Kalani

Seija Makanani, Kapaa — Struck out four, walked three and allowed one earned run on three hits in a complete-game win over Waimea and struck out six, walked three and allowed two runs on six hits in a complete game and batted 2 for 4 with a walk, stolen base and a run scored in a over Kauai

Kaylee Matsuda, Iolani — Batted 3 for 4 with three runs scored in a win over Kamehameha

Jayla Medeiros, Konawaena — Batted 2 for 3 with two home runs, a walk, two RBI and three runs scored in a win over Kau

Miki Mochizuki, PAC-5 — Batted 3 for 3 in a loss to Maryknoll II

Majesty Moisa, Kapolei — Batted 3 for 4 with a run scored in a loss to Pearl City

Hikialani Molitau, Farrington — Batted 2 for 4 with three RBI and two runs scored in a win over Kalaheo

Lisan Mudong, Kealakehe — Batted 4 for 5 with two RBI and two runs scored in a win over Waiakea

Dylan Nakamura, Kaiser — Homered and drove in four runs in a win over Kalani

Ashlyn Jean Nakashima, Kailua — Homered, walked, drove in four runs and scored three times in a win over Kaimuki

Alohilani Napalapalai, Waianae — Struck out 11, walked three and allowed three runs on four hits in a complete game and batted 2 for 4 with two RBI in a win over Leilehua

Ashley Nguyen, McKinley — Batted 2 for 3 with a double and three RBI in a loss to Radford

Samantha Ono, Kaimuki — Batted 3 for 4 with a double, RBI, one stolen base and three runs scored in a loss to Kailua

Alexis Oshiro, Kaiser — Batted 3 for 4 with three runs scored in a win over Kalani

Daysha Paracuelles, Leilehua — Batted 3 for 4 with a home run, double, four RBI and three runs scored in a win over Kapolei Charter

Sophia Rhee, Punahou II — Batted 3 for 4 with two doubles, three RBI, two stolen bases and a run scored in a loss to Mid-Pacific II

Taysia Takekawa, Castle — Batted 2 for 4 with two RBI and a run scored in a win over Moanalua

Marryanne Taufa, Farrington — Batted 3 for 3 with two doubles, two walks, two RBI and four runs scored in a win over McKinley

Ziara Tosie, Waiakea — Batted 3 for 5 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored in a loss to Kealakehe

Kayla Tuaoa, Baldwin — Batted 3 for 4 with a home run, three RBI, one stolen base and three runs scored in a win over Maui

Kalena Viela, Kamehameha-Maui — Batted 3 for 3 with a home run, double, five RBI and three runs scored in a win over Kekaulike

Rayna-Marie White, Maryknoll II — Batted 3 for 3 with a stolen base and a run scored in a win over PAC-5

Dayzee Wong, Castle — Batted 3 for 5 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored in a win over Moanalua

Jenna Wong, Mid-Pacific — Batted 3 for 3 with three doubles, a walk, four RBI, five stolen bases and four runs scored in a win over Sacred Hearts

Megan Yanagi, Punahou — Batted 2 for 2 with a home run, walk, two RBI and four runs scored in a win over Sacred Hearts

Jada Young, Moanalua — Struck out three, walked three and allowed six hits in a complete-game shutout win over Kaimuki



Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].


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