No team seemed to have a solution for the hot bats of Leilehua’s softball powerhouse.
The Lady Mules had mowed down a string of opponents in recent games. They scored 18 runs in a playoff win over Moanalua. Twelve in a semifinal victory over Waianae. Then came Campbell, and when the Sabers turned to Chloe Sales, she was ready. The southpaw went the final four innings as the Sabers rallied from an early deficit for a 12-3 victory over Leilehua for the OIA Division I championship at McKinley on Saturday night.
Sales scattered five hits over those four scoreless innings with three strikeouts and no walks. She felt her curve ball doing its magic in pre-game warmups, but wasn’t certain she would see game action.
“I talked to her before the game,” Sabers coach Michael “Shag” Hermosura said “Nadia (Delzer) pitched two games, and I wanted four or five innings from her tonight. Chloe came in and did her job. She’s been working on certain pitches to dive in, get in under their hands better. Just as long as she knows her strides.”
Sales was ready when her opportunity came.
“I was kind of scared at first, but I knew my defense had my back, so I calmed down,” she said.
The development of Sales and Delzer, along with an air-tight defense, has the Sabers 15-0 in OIA play. It is their first unbeaten run.
Sanoe Samate’s two-run blast gave Campbell the lead, 4-3, in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Senior Alesia Ranches sparked a key seven-run push in the sixth inning that turned a close game into a 12-3 lead. Ranches blasted a three-run homer.
“I think I had one strike and two balls. I just just looking inside. It was a fastball in and I got a little jammed. I was surprised. I didn’t think it would go over, that’s why I was running so hard to first. Maybe it was the wind,” said Ranches, who signed with Iowa State on Wednesday.
It’s a mind-set knowing that Leilehua is a team that would capitalize on our mistakes.
“No matter how hard we fall, we always have each other’s back. We don’t want it to be like last year, where we won OIA and then lost at states. We want to stay humble and hungry.”