Lunas Beat Bears, 8-6, to Force Monday Showdown
By Rodney S. Yap
Another chapter was added to the dramatic Division I softball series between Lahainaluna and Baldwin high schools.
The Lunas forced a winner-take-all game with their cross-town nemesis from Wailuku by earning an 8-6 victory over the Bears before a full house Friday night, April 19, at the Patsy Mink Field.
Lahainaluna (12-2) clinched the Maui Interscholastic League’s D-I girls softball tournament with the victory. Baldwin (11-3), however, took the regular-season title by beating the Lunas twice in their three head-to-head meetings.
Monday’s title tilt is slated for 7 p.m. at Patsy Mink Field. The Lunas are the two-time MIL Division I champions, while Baldwin is seeking its first title since 2010.
Lahainaluna built a comfortable 6-0 lead after four innings and appeared to be in control of things.
But fans who have witnessed previous battles between the two schools know lopsided outcomes are rare.
Baldwin would eventually snap out of its funk in the fifth, scoring two runs on a double to left field by Skylynn Ellazar. The Bears added a third run, 6-3, when Kylie Rose Dickson singled in Ellazar three batters later.
An RBI double by Haley Nakamura and a run-scoring single by Hope Morikawa padded the Lunas’ lead to 8-3 in the sixth inning.
Baldwin’s Shyli Puahala-Lau tripled to lead off the bottom half of the inning. She would later score before Alysha Sakamura’s single brought home two more runs to trim the Lunas’ lead to 8-6.
Lahainaluna pitcher, Morikawa, preserved the win by striking out Baldwin’s first two batters in the seventh inning and got the next hitter to fly out.
The Lunas finished with nine hits, offsetting three errors.
Lahainaluna’s Rhyn Lendio opened the game with a double off the center-field wall. Lendio later scored on Jessica Wallace’s sacrifice fly. The Lunas went ahead 3-0 in the fourth inning when Tobi Bonifacio cleared runners on second and third base with a double to deep center field.
An RBI double by Lithe Pokipala-Waiohu and a two-run single by Lyla Talaroc-Kaniho would later extend the Lunas’ lead to 6-0.
Lahainaluna 100 232 0—9 9 3
Baldwin 000 033 0—6 8 2
In MIL Division II softball Friday:
Hana clinched a spot in next month’s state tournament here with a 9-8 come-from-behind victory over Seabury Hall.
The Dragons (5-4) rallied from a 8-0 deficit through five innings, by scoring two runs in the sixth inning and seven in the bottom of the seventh.
Kawehi Sinenci, Jaynalee Hoopai, Brittany Smith, Shalen-Brae Hoopai and Nahe Kapoi-Smith all singled in the seventh. Hoopai and Kapoi-Smith both knocked in two runs with their hits and Smith had one RBI.
But the deciding hit that scored the final two runs for Hana’s walk-off wn came from Katieanna Abreu.
Hana will face Molokai at the Patsy Mink Field, today, April 20, at 10 a.m. for the MIL Division II Tournament title. A Hana victory means the two teams would play a winner-take-all game for the MIL Division II overall championship at noon.
Molokai (6-3), the MIL Division II regular-season champion, eliminated Lanai (5-5) 7-6 in Friday’s other semifinal game. The Famers rallied from three runs down in the bottom of the seventh inning as Khaylie Adachi delivered the clutch hit — an RBI walk-off double that scored Kelsie Espiritu-Tanabe for the winning run.