Roosevelt repeats as best in OIA East

Roosevelt pitcher Jaeda Cabunoc pitched the Rough Riders to their second straight regular season crown in the OIA East and now has the Rough Riders in the OIA Division I championship game against Campbell. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Roosevelt came out victorious in a winner-take-all softball matchup against Kaiser on Saturday night, winning 8-4 and taking with it the top seed in the OIA East heading into the playoffs that start on April 25.

The Rough Riders (11-1) won their second matchup against the Cougars (9-3) in a rain-shortened 5-inning game at McKinley, avenging a 6-4 loss at Kaiser on March 20.

“A win is a win,” Roosevelt coach Kris Fujii-Dias said. “Postseason is what matters, so we just gotta focus on the postseason.”

Roosevelt got five solid innings out of starter Jaeda Cabunoc, who had five strikeouts and allowed four hits and two walks.

The Rough Riders got the scoring started in the bottom of the first when Tiani Sniffen’s double drove in Kylie Kawamura. Sniffen was then driven in from second by Mika Emoto’s single to give the Rough Riders an early 2-0 edge.

Ivane Aholelei tied things up at 2 with one swing, when her home run in the top of the third drove in Tahani Kahawai-Robinson.

The Rough Riders responded with five runs in the home half of the third. After giving up a solo home run to Mari Foster, Kaiser starter Christiana Aholelei struggled pitching in the heavy rain, walking three hitters in the inning. Jadalee Takara and Hoku Ching both scored on wild pitches, and Roosevelt added another run in the fourth inning after Kanilehua Pitoy walked with the bases loaded.

“We hit good and defensively we didn’t make any errors,” Fujii-Dias said. “Offensively, we executed when we needed to execute.”

Kaiser cut into the deficit, scoring two runs in the top of the fifth inning, aided by doubles from Kahawai-Robinson and Precious Aholelei.

With an 8-4 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth, Roosevelt looked primed to add to its lead after Maya Nakamura got on base with a walk and advanced to third after Kawamura’s double down the left-field line. However, with another heavy wave of rain, the game was called right after Kawamura’s at-bat.

The decision came after multiple delays in action throughout the game, due to heavy showers that were persistent from the first pitch.

Kaiser coach Mitch Matsumoto wasn’t sure if the game would be official after it was called off, citing a game last year in which the Cougars played Moanalua and had to start a game over despite playing into the seventh inning.

Assuming the game counts, here are your final OIA East softball standings.

Kaiser will be the No. 2 seed out of the East in the playoffs and receive a first-round bye. The Cougars won a tiebreaker against Moanalua because of their better league win (against Roosevelt).

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