ILH Softball
Maryknoll wallops Iolani to claim ILH crown


Wed, May 12, 2021 @ [ 6:00 pm ]

F/5TH 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Iolani 0 1000XX130
Maryknoll 3 0 206XX11110

W: Sherreigh Nakoa-Chung    L: Allie Capello

MS: Mahalo Akaka 2-3 2 runs 3 rbi HR; Sherreigh Nakoa-Chung 5.0 IP 1 ER
IOL: Kaylee Matsuda 1-2 run dbl; Ailana Agbayani 4.6 IP 7 ER 4 K

KAKAAKO—Maryknoll jumped out to an early lead and plated six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to thump Iolani, 11-1, to win the Interscholastic League of Honolulu championship at McKinley's Tiger Softball Stadium Wednesday.

The Spartans (10-2) win their first league title since 2018, their third ILH title in four years. The COVID-19 pandemic ended the 2020 spring season prematurely in mid-March.

"When you miss last year. To have a season was unbelievably satisfying. Everyone was saying we had a good team last year and we wanted to prove ourselves this year. For the two seniors we had last year, Lexi Carlos and Syd Kamakaiwi, this game is for them because of the fact how good they were," Maryknoll coach John Uekawa said.

"It feels great, although it wasn't the season we hoped for to play for states and everything. But to come out as ILH champs was the best feeling in the world and it was our goal the whole season and we got here," pitcher Ua Nakoa-Chung said.

The Raiders saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end to conclude the season at 8-3.

Maryknoll avenged their two regular season losses to the Raiders. The Spartans forfeited the April 14 contest when one of their players did not clear league protocols. Iolani won 18-17 on April 26 after the Raiders scored eight runs in the bottom of the fourth and the game was called in five innings due to darkness. The 18-17 loss stewed with the coaching staff and players.

"That was in everyone's mind. We came back as a team to win. We went for every pitch and did not look ahead," Nakoa-Chung said.

"The burning fire of videos," Uekawa said of reviewing film. "We're not too much of a video-type of team. We went over, over, and over on tendencies and situations. We had a feeling of what they're going to do and it played out that way. We didn't have to talk to them and they would move into position. That's how good this team was."

The Spartans had 15 hits for the game, but committed five errors while the Raiders pounded out 13 hits.

Maryknoll and their defense made quick work of the Raiders in the top of the first inning. Carys Murakamai belted a lead off double to open the bottom of the first and Allie Capello walked the next two batters to load the bases. She walked Liliana Thomas to bring in a run before being lifted for Ailana Agbayani. Jennalyn Sniffen's sacrifice fly to center scored another run and Nellian McEnroe-Marinas scored off a wild pitch for a 3-0 Maryknoll lead.

"Deep down, it wasn't going to be enough. Agbayani did a great job and held us down," Uekawa said.

Kaylee Matsuda hit a grounder past third base that squeezed inside the foul line for a lead off single and moved to second on Maya Ichimura's sacrifice bunt. Matsuda stole third and Milla Fukuda brought her home with a double to left field as the Raiders trailed, 3-1.

All the fielding work the Spartans did in practices paid off as Lexie Tilton grounded out to Nakoa-Chung to open the third inning. Agbayani hit a liner to center field and Capello followed up with hit a deep shot to right field that was caught by Breyli Agbayani-Shibao, who threw a laser to first baseman Aloha Akaka to tag Agbayani as she tried to go back to first for the inning-ending double play.

"We pride ourselves on defense," Uekawa said. "People recognize our homers and batting averages. If you look at the other side, most of the games were 4, 3, 2, 1. Those runs made us get into the 10-run rule. You saw it tonight with our effort on defense."

"It feels great, we practiced really hard the past couple weeks. We practiced situational plays for Iolani. We did really well today with our defense and hitting," senior centerfielder Mahalo Akaka said.

Nakoa-Chung scattered three hits in five innings of work with one strikeout and two walks.

Maryknoll added two more runs in the bottom third as Thomas and Sniffen consecutively singled and Nakoa-Chung brought in Thomas and Logan-Ray Gaspar's RBI single made it 5-1.

The Raiders threatened in the top of the fifth inning but came away empty-handed. Keely Kai grounded out to third for the first out, Fukuda walked and Kennadie Tsue was hit by a pitch. Fukuda moved to third on Tilton's sacrifice bunt and Agbayani walked to load the bases. Capello grounded out to second as the Spartans came away unscathed.

"Honestly, I feel like we have the best defense in the state. It's an honor to play with them and to have them to back me up. It was a tough situation, but as we placed the ball and got the hits where we needed it to be and the defense to get our backs, it was really great," Nakoa-Chung said.

"They loaded the bases with two outs. Prior to this when we played them, they scored four or five runs because we could only get one out," Uekawa said.

Day-lee Williams was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the fifth and scored off of Nakoa-Chung's double. Gaspar added her second hit of the night to right and Chloe Chun, who came in for Nakoa-Chung went to third then scored off of Aloha Akaka's sacrifice fly for a 7-1 lead. Murakami moved Gaspar to second with a hit to left field and Mahalo Akaka crushed a home run to centerfield to make it, 10-1.

"I was looking at the ball come out of her hand and I heard my sister (Aloha) on the side and she said my number and I knew what it was going to be and I went after it and it was a great feeling," Mahalo said.

McEnroe-Marinas hit a high fly ball and Tsue could not make the play. Sniffen took first after Kai was called for interference. Williams was beaned for the third time to load the bases and Nakoa-Chung grounded to left field to score McEnroe-Marinas to end the game.

"I was looking for an approach to attack. My first at bat was a strike out and I knew I had to stay calm and look for the pitch I wanted to drive," Nakoa-Chung said of her at bat.

The Raiders were seeking their first ILH title since 2009. Capello (4-1) was charged with the loss. Agbayani (2-0) pitched 4 2/3 innings scattering 11 hits, striking out four and walking one.

Matsuda, who led her team in doubles with four, went 1 for 2 at the plate and scored the team's lone run.

Reach Brandon Ching at [email protected].

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