HHSAA Softball
No. 10 Kapaa dominates PAC-5 to end perfect season with D2 state title


Fri, May 17, 2024 @ [ 4:30 pm ]

F/5TH 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Kapaa 2 4430XX13121
Pac-FIVE 0 0 010XX121

W: Karlee-Rose Keale    L: Miya Yoshioka

P5: Mauliola Zuttermeister 1-2 run rbi HR
KAPA: Rhea Furtado 3-4 3 runs 5 rbi dbl HR; Karlee-Rose Keale 5.0 IP 1 ER 2 K

MANOA—The Warriors are bringing the championship hardware back to the Garden Isle.

No. 10 Kapaa rapped out 12 hits and took a commanding double-digit lead after four innings to dethrone defending state champion PAC-5, 13-1, in five innings, in the DataHouse/HHSAA Division II Softball State Championship game at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.

The KIF champion and top seeded Warriors finished the season with a 15-0 overall record and claimed their first state championship since 2022.

"It feels great, nothing better than this. It means a lot, once again, people underestimate us because Waimea is a great team, Kauai is a great team. We have hammahs that can play and ball. It's super overwhelming and blessed to bring this trophy back home," senior second baseman Rhea Furtado said.

"We're glad to be bringing the hardware back to Kauai, to the eastside of Kauai. It's just the beginning, we're not stopping here, hopefully. Hopefully this is the beginning of something special with our graduating class, we have five going out, but we have eighth graders that will be freshmen next year and we'll reload," Kapaa coach Blair Yamashita said.

Games had to be reshuffled due to inclement weather. Kapaa and PAC-5 (11-3-1 overall) played their semifinal games earlier in the day at Pearl City and Moanalua respectively.

The Warriors led early and pulled away from fourth seed and OIA champion Aiea, 11-4. In the Wednesday opening round against Kohala, the Warriors were rained out and had to resume play on Thursday but trounced the Cowboys, 23-4 in five innings.

"It's a mental thing. If we're physically there, we have to be mentally prepared for anything that could happen. It's really a blessing, it really just kept us going, kept the bats going," Furtado said of the reshuffling of games.

The young Wolfpack squad with no seniors, but comprised of three juniors, four sophomores, and five freshmen returned to the title game despite youth and inexperience.

"This team is very young, we have a lot of years to come. Most of my kids are ninth and tenth graders. They're very inexperienced, but we have to coach them, but we'll be alright. It's a good eye opener for them," PAC-5 coach Blake Lau said.

PAC-5 won the ILH to be named the second seed and defeated OIA runner up Radford, 7-1, in the opening round. Dahlia Gangano grounded a walkoff single to beat Waimea, 9-8, in the semifinals to reach the title game.

"Hats off to PAC-5, what they did throughout the year is an awesome story in itself. They're a young team, we'll see them again," Yamashita said.

Kapaa avenged a 10-9 quarterfinal loss to PAC-5 last year in the state tournament.

"It feels such a relief, it's overwhelming. We've been really wanting to come back really strong this year. We've been working super hard so, again, I couldn't do this without them," Furtado said.

"That was a great team, they had great players. We knew we'd be in for a battle today. It's a monkey off our back to shed that loss from last year. That was a great team, hats off to them and their coaching staff, they're a class act," Yamashita said of PAC-5.

Kapaa got off to an auspicious start as Sienna Yamashita drew a lead off walk and moved over to second on Furtado's bunt single. Charlize Kenney hit a standup double for a 2-0 lead.

Datahouse/HHSAA Softball State Championships
All-Tournament Team (as selected by the media)

Division II

Most Outstanding Player
Rhea Furtado, Kapaa

Kaelyn Banquel, Waimea
Kylie Oshita, PAC-5
Charlize Kenney, Kapaa
Sienna Yamashita, Kapaa

Leici-Mae Camara, Waimea
Hailey Gibson, Kapaa
Nahe Marshall, Kapaa
Kiersten Chong, Aiea

Mauliola Zuttermeister, PAC-5

Dahlia Gangano, PAC-5

Karlee-Rose Keale, Kapaa

"We have Rhea and Sienna at the top, with their speed, we get on base and cause havoc. We put pressure on the other teams and force them to mistakes. She's done that consistently throughout the year too. It's hard to have dad as a coach. Sometimes you get extra scrutiny, but she rose to the occasion and she did so throughout the year," coach Yamashita said of his daughter, Sienna.

Nahe Marshall walked and Yamashita was hit by a pitch before Furtado laced a double to center right. Gibson, who leads the team in RBI, drove in a pair of runs. Lilinoe Kuhaulua-Leong plated Gibson by sending her single to right for a 6-0 lead.

"We've been practicing hard, we've been hitting all year. Rainy days, whatever, we've been working super hard. These girls are hammahs and see the ball super well. Making good contact," Furtado said.

Makena Kupihea and Marshall each singled and Yamashita walked to load the bases. Furtado cleared the bases with her grand slam home run that went over the scoreboard for a 10-0 lead.

"It's not expected for me because I'm kinda small," Furtado said of her only home run of the season.

"Miss Consistency. She is a team leader, she's one of our seniors, we're going to miss her dearly. She spends hours, endless time, working on her craft, honing her craft. It pays off in the biggest moments. Your stars showed out in the biggest moments," coach Yamashita said.

The Warriors padded their lead with three more runs powered by extra base hits. Ashlynn Souza doubled and came home on Kupihea's triple. Marshall reached on a fielder's choice and a throwing error plated Kupihea. Yamashita got her first hit of the game with a double deep to right field to score the final run for the Warriors.

"Those guys are hitters, that's why they're number one. They hit the ball hard and they're a great hitting team. Can't take nothing away from them," Lau said.

Karlee-Rose Keale (8-1) picked up the win and threw 3 1/3 innings of no-hit ball with a pair of strikes and walks until the Wolfpack broke up the no-hit bid in the bottom of the fourth.

"She was dealing it tonight," Yamashita said of Keale. "She got good stuff, great command, great spin. She makes it easy for us as coaches to game plan and keep our other players that they naturally play. She's a true pitcher."

"We couldn't do this without her. It's really a blessing she's here with us and she did amazing. I'm super proud of her," Furtado said.

Kylie Oshita led off with a single on a 2-0 count but was caught stealing second. Mauliola Zuttermeister blasted a solo home run to left field for PAC-5's lone run of the game.

"I always live and die with the bats. It's a matter of time, we hit the ball pretty hard too, just a lot of fly balls," Lau said.

Keale fanned Iida and Brooklyn Opetaia walked. Angelina Faucchini popped out to Kenney, who threw it to Souza to end the game on a double play.

Freshman pitcher Miya Yoshioka (6-1) took the loss with 4 1/3 innings pitched as she struck out one and walked three. Zuttermeister spelled her 2/3 innings before Yoshioka re-entered.

PAC-5 was seeking its seventh overall title and back-to-back titles for the first time since 2010-2011.

Reach Brandon Ching at [email protected].

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