Along with their work behind the plate, the winning catchers in the Division II semifinals of the DataHouse/HHSAA State Softball Championships helped propel their teams to Friday’s title game with their production in the batters box.
In Thursday’s first semifinal, Nanakuli sophomore Kaila Burnett went 4-for-5 and drove in four runs in the Golden Hawks’ 11-2 win over Kamehameha-Hawaii at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
Aiea senior Kallie Alama then went 3-for-3 with a home run and five runs batted in for Na Alii in a 12-2 win over Waimea.
One week after Aiea rallied for a 10-8 win over Nanakuli in the OIA White championship game, the teams will meet for the Division II state championship at 5 p.m. Friday at RWSS.
Burnett’s two-run single in Nanakuli’s six-run outburst in the fifth inning helped the Golden Hawks pull away from Kamehameha-Hawaii in their ninth straight state tournament win. She was part of Nanakuli’s title run last year and caught fellow sophomore Kanalei McCoy’s complete-game performance on Thursday.
The Golden Hawks, the two-time defending Division II state champions, have just two seniors on the roster “but we’ve got a lot of experience and a lot to kids that have been there already,” assistant coach Waldo Meyers said.
Alama and three other Aiea seniors will make their first appearances in the state final on Friday. She walked in her first plate appearance on Thursday, drilled a two-run single in the second inning and singed in another run in the third. She capped her afternoon with a two-run homer in the fifth.
“She’s been a mainstay here for four years,” Aiea coach Alan Higuchi said, “brought herself up to the player she is today and I’m just so happy for them that they get to reap the rewards of all their hard work.”