It was methodical, almost mechanical, and classic Campbell.
For a few innings, the spirited and young — the starting infield is comprised of freshmen — Kaiser Cougars hung tough. Then came a six-run fourth inning by No. 1 Campbell, breaking a 1-all tie en route to a 9-3 victory for the Sabers in the semifinals of the OIA Division I softball playoffs on Friday night at McKinley.
Now it’ll be Campbell, the defending league champion, against defending state champion Leilehua on Saturday for the league crown.
“It feels like we’re a little more hungry this year because of what happened at states,” senior shortstop Alesia Ranches said.
Two days earlier, Ranches signed her letter of intent to play for Iowa State. On Friday, she had a key RBI single in the pivotal fourth inning, and later singled and scored in the sixth to give her team an insurance run.
The Sabers aren’t doing it by relying on the four-bagger. They have perhaps the most consistent contact-hitting producers in the state, from top to bottom. It is classic small ball as head coach Michael “Shag” Hermosura keeps his baserunners on the move.
In fact, one of Campbell’s runs in the fourth frame came with runners at the corners. Ranches took off from first base to second, unchallenged, but when the catcher’s high throw caromed off the glove of Kaiser ace Primrose Aholelei, Seaerra Fuentes-Arellano took off for home plate and scored easily.
Manufacturing runs is a valuable commodity in the postseason, but Campbell gets big innings with the constant ability to put pressure on defenses with a lineup that is almost entirely built on speedy, leadoff-hitter types.
They also keep their cool under pressure.
“We try not to be selfish. If we’re not being productive on one side, we try to do better on the other side,” Ranches said of hitting and defense.
It was a strong night for No. 8 hitters in the semifinals. Michaela Fonoti came through with a two-run double to center for Campbell during the big fourth inning.
“I was just trying to make contact with the ball,” the left fielder said.
Saturday’s final isn’t fazing the Sabers.
“We’ll take it like every other game and stay calm,” Fonoti said.
Winning pitcher Nadia Delzer went the distance and scattered four hits.
“Today felt like a normal game,” the senior said.
Updated: Apr. 22
|4/17||Castle (E4)||Kapolei (W5)||Kapo, 4-2|
|4/18||Mililani (W3)||Kalani (E6)||Mil, 8-3|
|4/17||Moanalua (E3)||Pearl City (W6)||Moan, 14-13|
|4/17||Waianae (W4)||Kailua (E5)||Wain, 6-5 (8)|
|4/18||Campbell (W1)||Kapolei||Camp, 7-6 (8)|
|4/18||Kaiser (E2)||Mililani||Kais, 3-2|
|4/18||Leilehua (W2)||Moanalua||Lei, 18-2 (5)|
|4/18||Roosevelt (E1)||Waianae||Wain, 7-4|
|4/17||Radford||Kahuku||Rad, 11-0 (5)|
|4/17||McKinley||Waipahu||Waip, 19-1 (5)|
|4/18||Waialua||Waipahu||Wail, 13-1 (5)|
|4/22||McKinley||Kahuku||McK, 13-3 (5)|