Long ago and oh, so far away, there was a team from the midlands that left an impression on a veteran city coach.
“Watch out for Leilehua,” the coach said after a slew of rain-altered preseason tournament games.
The mighty Mules fulfilled that prophecy. Leilehua (17-6 overall including nonconference/preseason games) capped the 2018 season with the first state softball title in school history and the No. 1 ranking in the Star-Advertiser Softball Top 10.
The panel of coaches and media made the Mules a unanimous pick with all 10 first-place votes. They were No. 1 in Week 2 of the polling (March 5), collecting five of the 10 votes. They also retained the top spot in Week 3, though they had just one of 11 first-place votes. They hovered at No. 3 for three weeks, then at No. 2 coming into the DataHouse/HHSAA Softball State Championships.
Punahou (17-7), the Division I state and ILH runner-up, is No. 2 in the final poll. Campbell (19-5-2), the OIA champion that lost to Punahou in the state semifinals, dropped from No. 1 to third.
Division II state champion St. Francis (14-5) completed its most successful season at No. 4. The Saints were tied with Punahou in the same slot in the previous rankings. They defeated the Buffanblu twice in two meetings during the ILH regular season.
Roosevelt (17-3-1), Maryknoll (15-8-1), Mililani (19-15), Kapolei (21-13), Pearl City (10-8-2) and ‘Iolani (11-10-1) rounded out the Top 10. No. 7 Mililani returned to the top 10 for the first time since April 15.
Kaiser (10-9), Waiakea (17-5), Baldwin (15-7), Waianae (8-10), Kamehameha (12-9), Kamehameha-Hawaii (20-4) and Lahainaluna (8-12) also received votes.