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Prep Football Preview Special
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveMay 6, 2023, 12:20am
Fri, May 5, 2023 @ [ 7:00 pm ]
W: Taryn Irimata L: Kiani-Taylor Soller
KSK: Daylee Williams 1-3 run 2 rbi HR; Kiani-Taylor Soller 7.0 IP 3 ER 3 KCAMP: Leia Duropan 2-3 run 2 rbi HR; Taryn Irimata 7.0 IP 3 ER 7 K
MANOA — Sabers back on top.
Cairah Curran belted a solo home run with two outs in the top of the seventh inning to back Taryn Irimata's complete game as Campbell completed an undefeated season with a 4-3 win over Kamehameha in the title game of the DataHouse/HHSAA Division I State Championships Friday night.
A crowd of 1,186 fans at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium saw the top-seeded Sabers finished with a perfect 16-0 record, while the second-seeded Warriors fell to 14-6.
It is Campbell's fifth state championship and first since 2017.
"It feels so great because we worked for this so long and we wanted it ever since we were eighth grade for however long we can remember and knowing that our first years were cutout and we didn't win last year, we wanted it so bad this year and we took it," said Irimata, a senior pitcher and University of Nevada-signee.
In her final game in a Saber uniform, Irimata gutted her way through a bit of a rough start. She allowed three runs in the first two innings, including a two-run home run by Mua Williams just three batters into the game. She went on to retire the final 17 batters she faced to run her record to 15-0.
"We were kind of just calling fastballs at first and it wasn't working, so we knew we had to throw in some movement and that's when things started turning around for us," Irimata said.
All four of Kamehameha's hits came in the first two innings. Irimata recorded seven strikeouts against one walk. It was her 13th complete game this season.
"She came to play and she knew, like I told everybody, everybody gotta be accountable for their actions and she did what she did and she threw the pitches that we all called and I'm so proud of that and I wish her the best when she goes to college," Campbell coach Shag Hermosura said.
Irimata's batterymate behind the plate, catcher Leia Duropan, said there was no need to settle down her veteran pitcher.
"Honestly, I really didn't have to because I know what Taryn can do and I know how she is and she's just usually the type of pitcher who just picks herself up. If anything, I tell her that, ‘She got this and she has nothing to worry about,' " Duropan said.
Duropan gave her team its first lead of the night with her two-run home run in the bottom of the second inning. One batter after Kayla Whaley's RBI-single plated Lorraine Alo to get the Sabers on the board, Duropan crushed an inside pitch from Kamehameha's Kiani-Taylor Soller down the left field line and just inside the foul pole for the game-tying home run.
"I seen a fastball inside, right above my waistline and I knew that — I was like, ‘That's my pitch,' so I took it, I swung with everything I had I got a home run," said Duropan, whose only other homer this season came in the third game of the regular season against Pearl City on March 7.
"After Leia hit it I was so proud of her — practicing every day, putting in hard work, extra hours too, even at home — it really gave us a shot and helped us a lot," said Whaley, who finished 2 for 3 at the plate.
Campbell had a chance to reclaim the lead in the top of the fourth inning, but left the bases loaded to keep the score knotted at 3.
The score held until the top of the seventh, when Curran finally cashed in after going 0 for 3 in her first three at-bats. In the lead-up to Curran's go-ahead home run, however, the Warriors put on a fantastic display of defense, particularly in the outfield. Left fielder Mikaela Scarborough made a diving catch on a lined shot off the bat of Kaiana Kong for the first out of the inning before center fielder Marley Espiau snagged a hard hit ball by Quinn Waiki at the fence for out number two.
"It was really frustrating especially (because) the top of our lineup just was struggling a little bit, but we picked each other up and it was hard picking myself up, but I did my best and I did it," Curran said.
Kamehameha coach Mark Lyman tipped his cap to his outfielders for their stellar defensive work.
"We have just athletes," he said. "We have good girls around here and they're gonna play their hearts out for each other and that's what we kinda told them all year long: ‘Trust each other, play for each other.' We tell our pitchers, ‘You don't have to strike everybody out, you've got an incredible defense behind you' and they showed that tonight. The last couple of days they showed that."
Curran's home run came on the first pitch of her at-bat.
"My sister told me before that pitch to just be prepared and just yank the inside and I prayed to God the inning before that and I felt so confident. I seen the first pitch and I just drove it," said the senior second baseman who is signed with Santa Clara University.
Following Curran's late-game heroics, Irimata closed the door on the Warriors by setting down their 8-9-1 hitters in the bottom of the seventh.
"Once Cairah hit that home run, I knew we had to win, especially for her because that was big for her, the home run. We just had to pick each other up in the circle and tell each other, ‘Who wants it more?' and to just get these last three (outs) because we knew it was their 8-9-1, so we just had to get all of those before their big two batters came up," Irimata said.
Lyman expressed his pride in Soller, who worked her way into the Warriors' staff ace after largely sharing pitching duties early in the season.
"That's just how it goes sometimes. That one pitch — the wind blows out a little bit more at times — Marley couldn't get it, but Kiani's been like that the whole time. Kiani just wants to be in that spotlight, Kiani wants the ball in that moment and I just love her for that. She'll go out there and she'll battle and she'll do whatever she has to do just to get the job done," Lyman said.
Soller took her first loss in the circle this season and fell to 9-1. She allowed four runs, three of them earned, on six hits with three strikeouts and one walk.
Kamehameha, the ILH championship, was seeking its ninth state crown and first since 2008.
"I'm just so proud of this team. From where we started from and this is what we were building for. We wanted to peak at the right time and we knew we wanted to challenge and just try and build toward the end here and that's what we did. We played well, we played great," Lyman said.
It was the second straight game that the Sabers recovered from an early deficit. They trailed Iolani, 1-0, after one inning in Thursday's semifinals on a home run given up by Irimata.
Irimata said facing a similar situation for the second night in a row was a comfortable spot.
"Well, we believe in each other so much that we know that no matter what (the) circumstances, we'll come back from it," Irimata said.
All three of Campbell's state-tournament wins this week were by a single run. It rallied to a 4-3 win over Kapolei in Wednesday's quarterfinals and needed eight innings to get by Iolani, 3-2.
"We always battle back. Whenever we're down, we always find a way to come back and push each other and we just try our best," Whaley said.
Four of the Sabers' five state titles have come under Hermosura, who showed some rare emotion in the moments following the championship trophy presentation.
"Getting up in age," he laughed, "and then working with girls like this and the team itself made me feel a little younger, but I'm so proud of them. They deserve what they got."
Irimata acknowledged that the title is about far more than the 24 individuals on the team this spring.
"I think it means a lot, not just to us but to our community and just our coaches for telling us to trust the process and we just had to believe in that," she said.
DataHouse/HHSAA Division I Softball All-Tournament Team
InfieldJerrell Oriana Mailo, WaianaeCairah Curran, CampbellDaylee "Mua" Williams, KamehamehaQuinn Waiki, CampbellNevaeh Telles, Kamehameha
OutfieldTeiah Keliiholokai, CampbellMariah Antoque, KamehamehaKayla Whaley, CampbellMarley Espiau, Kamehameha
UtilityJerzie Liana, Waianae
PitcherKiani-Taylor Soller, Kamehameha
CatcherMia Carbonell, Iolani
Most Outstanding Player: Taryn Irimata, Campbell
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