Campbell ace Taryn Irimata hurls perfect game against Kapolei Charter

Taryn Irimata is picking up where she left. The Campbell right-hander hurled a perfect game in the OIA season opener against Kapolei Charter on Tuesday. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser Apr. 20, 2021).

Perfection is spelled S-A-B-E-R-S.

It can also be spelled I-R-I-M-A-T-A. Campbell sophomore Taryn Irimata fired a perfect game on Tuesday as the Sabers overwhelmed Kapolei Charter 10-0 in six innings to launch the OIA regular season.

Irimata’s mastery of four pitches — fastball, screwball, curve and riser — kept the visitors off balance. She let her defense work, too. The Sabers were flawless, finishing without an error. The one KC batter who managed to get to a three-ball count on Irimata wound up striking out.

“I just knew I’m doing really good today and I can’t give up a free base. If they want to get a base, they have to earn it,” the right-hander said.

She was impeccable as a freshman during the 2020 preseason and part of the regular season before it was cancelled due to the pandemic. Irimata notched big wins over several top teams, posting a mark of 9-0 with 61 strikeouts and just 11 walks in 49.2 innings with a 1.41 ERA. This preseason, she one-hit ILH frontrunner Maryknoll.

On Tuesday afternoon, under gray, overcast clouds in Ewa Beach, Irimata painted the corners, and what she didn’t throw for strikes was close enough to keep Kapolei Charter under pressure. Off speed. Risers. Screwballs. Curves.

“I have everything except a drop ball,” she said. “I played with a couple of them in eighth grade, so I kind of knew how they hit and what their approaches are, but I just hit my spots and did what Coach Shag told me to do.”

Shag Hermosura has been a pitcher’s guru, and head coach, for a long, long time. He loves chatting about the game as much as any coach.

“Shag is very good, very knowledgable and always learning more about the game,” ‘Iolani coach Benny Agbayani said. “I always talk to him. Baseball, softball, they’ve changed and there’s new technology.”

Precision, though, is not as easily acquired as knowledge. Irimata kept her skills in tune through the cancelled spring of 2020 until the spring of ’21.

“I traveled to the mainland with Athletics. I think I went in November and January. The November trip was about three weeks and January was a quick trip,” said Irimata, who may have an extended stay later this year.

“I’m gonna try and stay up this summer. Sometimes, I want to come home, but I know it’s for a good cause. When I’m with my friends, then I’m OK. The team I’m playing with has other pitchers, but they’re seniors right now,” she said.

Maybe it was the velocity plus the pinpoint accuracy, but Irimata appears to be taller and stronger this season.

“I’m still 5-6 and three-quarters inches. I wish I grew,” she said. “I do my running and sometimes after practice I’ll lift. It’s just light leg work after practice.”

Hermosura believes she is stronger, but it isn’t from sessions in the weight room.

“Taryn works hard in the pen. She always wants the ball. Today, it paid off,” Hermosura said. “She threw the pitches that I wanted her to throw and she deserves it. She works hard every day. Doing three, four, five, six miles every day. Throwing about 150, 160 pitches in the pen, running after that, doing ab work, today was a deserving day for her. I really am proud of her.”

There abbreviated preseason may have led to a different approach by the Sabers.

“I don’t want to go in the weight room this year. We’re normally in the weight room. What holds up the body? The legs, so let’s run. This young team runs really, really hard. It’s something that they want to do. They’re longing to do the workouts because of the pandemic. Other than that, each day is a different day as we work,” Hermosura said.

A perfect game just doesn’t happen much even at the prep level. Defense is key.

“Today, defensively, we really worked. Offensively, we got our hits and we got our runs, but defensively, whatever Taryn threw, our fielders could made their plays on, fly balls, ground balls, they work hard on it every day,” Hermosura said.

The Sabers didn’t put on a hit parade, though nine base knocks is always appreciated. Instead, they waited patiently and took advantage of a torrent of walks, wild pitches and hit batters by KC’s starting pitcher, Shaycelen Akiona, who lasted two innings and gave up six runs, four of them earned.

“We try to capitalize on the other team’s mistakes. Today was a game, first game of the season. We’re going to defend our field. It’s like the girls say, nobody comes in our field and dirties our field,” Hermosura said.

Irimata moves on quickly. She says she has no memory of throwing the one-hitter against the potent Maryknoll Spartans a few weeks ago.

“We just take it one at a time,” Irimata said.

(See the game story in Wednesday’s Star-Advertiser.)

At Campbell
Kapolei Charter (0-1) 000 000 — 0 0 1
Campbell (1-0) 232 102 — 10 9 0
One out when game ended by 10-run mercy rule.
Shaycelen Akiona, Leia Duropan (3) and Kealiana Chung-Balecha. Taryn Irimata and Paige Nakashima. W—Irimata. L—Akiona.
Leading hitters—KC: none. Campbell: Irimata 2-3, run, SB; Cairah Curran 2-3, double, 3 runs; Nakashima 1-2, 2 RBI, run, SF; Jayda Favela 1-3, RBI, run; Kaiana Kong 1-4, RBI, run; Jayla Stephens 1-2, RBI, run, triple.


  1. Another HS Coach April 21, 2021 1:33 pm

    So happy for her ! She works really hard. She’s one of the nicest players out there too. Very humble and talented.

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