OIA Softball
No. 5 Leilehua rebounds to blast past No. 7 Kapolei in 5 innings


Sat, Mar 30, 2024 @ [ 7:00 pm ]

F/5TH 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Kapolei 2 1112XX7103
Leilehua 3 5 55XXX18161

W: Trinity Cabana-Rodrigues    L: Kandi Malama-Ahlo

LEI: Trinity Cabana-Rodrigues 2-3 2 runs 5 rbi dbl HR / 5.0 IP 6 ER 7 K
KAP: Kayara Tuiloma 2-3 2 runs 3 rbi 2 HR

No. 5 Leilehua rebounded and got back into the win column in emphatic fashion by hammering No. 7 Kapolei, 18-7, in five innings in the night cap of a OIA West Division I doubleheader at Tiger Softball Stadium Saturday.

The Mules (6-3) rebounded from a 9-4 loss to No. 3 Mililani Thursday to sit in third place in the West standings. Since dropping their first two games in league play, Leilehua won six of their last seven.

"Just getting them to believe in themselves. That's the whole thing. This team is better than they believe they are but getting them to get over the hump. It's been a great learning experience for this team because I keep telling them, we have to finish a game all the way through. We've been playing a solid four innings, but anything past four we haven't been closing up. Just a matter of time and putting it together. Being in the West, even more so we'll get prepared. We have tough opponents," Leilehua coach Wendell Au said.

The Hurricanes dropped their second-consecutive game to fall to 4-5 in the OIA West.

The 16 hits were the second highest hit total the Mules put out this season behind 22 put on Nanakuli in a 26-1 win back on Mar. 9.

"Everyone was hitting and the runs were coming in," Cabana-Rodrigues said.

Eight of the nine batters in the starting line up card registered a hit. Maya Siufanua had four, Tatetiare Suivaaia and Ciara Fortuno had three.

Trinity Cabana-Rodrigues improved to 3-2 on the season with the win with five innings pitched with seven strikeouts and a walk. At the plate, she batted 2 for 3 for five RBI.

"We've been fortunate with pitching. We got BB (Leong) and got Trin and they're both pushing each other. They're both there for each other," Au said.

"In the circle, I really trusted my defense and just wanted to pitch strikes," Cabana-Rodrigues said. "Our pitching right now is doing really good and our hitting, we came back a lot. We've been hitting a lot more than those previous games and it's allowing us to succeed."

Kendalyn Cordeiro-Felise led off with a single inside the left field line then moved to second on Kaylisa Nakoa's ground out. Kayara Tuiloma homered over the right field fence for a 2-0 lead.

Fortuno went 3 for 3 at the plate and chopped a hard single past second base and Cabana-Rodgrigues blasted a home run over the right center fence to tie the game at 2. Shaz Ancheta walked and Siufanua brought her in but was caught in a pickle to end the inning for a 3-2 lead.

"The home run, I saw it right down the middle and took it yard," Cabana-Rodrigues said.

Kama Seminavage singled and moved over on Jashia-Lee Hernando's sacrifice bunt. Dezeyer Faagai doubled to tie the game at 3 to plate Seminavage.

The Mules pulled away with a five run second inning. Kawehi Liu reached on an error and Bells Ramson walked. Mere Ursua struck out looking but Leilehua followed up with consecutive base hits by Leong and Fortuno. Cabana-Rodrigues brought in two more runs as she lifted a double to right field. After Shaz Ancheta lined out to short, Suivaaia sent a deep single to center to plate the final two runs of the inning to lead 8-3.

"Some of the players like Maya (Siufanua), so steady at the DP position, she went 4 for 4. She knows her role. I told them to be the best you, then the team becomes better. They're doing a good job of it. We have to keep ramping up all the way until states, that's the key," Au said.

"It gave us a lot of confidence, we're usually behind the count. It was good knowing we were ahead," Cabana-Rodrigues said.

Tuiloma finished 2 for 3 at the plate and blasted a solo home run in the fourth inning to trail, 8-4.

Kapolei's Kayara Tuiloma (4) scored their second home run of the game against Leilehua in the fourth inning at McKinley's Tiger Softball Stadium. CJ Caraang | SL    Purchase image

"Kapolei is dangerous, you cannot sleep on them. They swing sticks all the way through. Hats off to their coaches, they spread their lineup pretty well, it's not your conventional 1-9 type of deal. They try to spread out their lineup," Au said of Kapolei.

The Mules pressured and put away the Hurricanes with five runs in the third and fourth innings.

Ursua reached on an error to lead off the bottom third, advanced to second on a wild pitch and stole third. Leong walked then stole second. Fortuno scored Ursua and Ancheta brought in Leong and Fortuno with a grounder up the middle. Suivaaia found a gap in shallow left and Siufanua, who went 4 for 4, plated Mimi Briscoe-Baker and Liu added another by scoring Reyna Nartatez.

Faagai drew a walk and Cordeiro-Felise followed up with a double to left field. Faagai scored the Hurricanes' only run off Nakoa's sacrifice fly to right to trail, 13-5.

Ursua led off with a single up the middle, stole second and Leong walked. Fortuno loaded the bases as she reached on an error and Cabana-Rodrigues drew a RBI walk. Ancheta brought in another run with a sacrifice fly and Suivaaia cleared the bases with a home run bomb past the center field fence for a 18-5 lead.

Leilehua's Tatetiare Suivaaia (3) hits a grand slam in the fourth inning to extend the Mules lead 18-5 against Kapolei at McKinley's Tiger Softball Stadium. CJ Caraang | SL    Purchase image

Malama-Ahlo (4-5) went 3 1/3 innings, surrendered 15 hits, of the 18 runs, 10 were earned as she walked five and struck out three in the loss. Nakoa came in to pitch the final 1 2/3 innings and scattered a hit.

Malama-Ahlo reached on an error on the right fielder to get to second base. Kieryn Imai grounded out to short but Hayden Imai (2-for-3) crunched a home run for Kapolei's final runs of the night. Rosslyn Molina grounded out to third and Faagai struck out looking to end the game.

"I was hitting my spots and letting it go to my defense, because I trust my defense. My curve balls were really working and I decided to do my change up and she (Shaz Ancheta) framed it really good making it a strike," Cabana-Rodrigues said.

Leilehua beat Kapolei earlier on Mar. 5, 13-9, to jumpstart a five game winning streak that was snapped by Mililani this past Thursday.

The Mules face the Golden Hawks on Apr. 4 at 3 p.m. while the Hurricanes go to Pearl City (0-8) on Apr. 6 at 10 am.

Reach Brandon Ching at [email protected].

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