Damien makes its ILH varsity softball debut

Damien huddled prior to the start of the first ILH regular-season varsity softball game in school history. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

In a parallel universe, Damien enters year one of varsity softball after two years of intermediate play, after at least one year of JV experience.

And in that faraway world, the Monarchs play in a pure Division II schedule. Like OIA D-II.

Damien’s debut in the brutal world of ILH softball was a rough one. The 38-0 loss to ‘Iolani was stocked with gap hits by the Raiders that rolled and rolled for stand-up home runs — six in all, including three by Kai Barrett. It could’ve been a bigger total for ‘Iolani, which opened the season ranked No. 10 in the Star-Advertiser Softball Top 10 today. Aleia Agbayani, the Raiders’ signee with Cal, belted a pair of two-run homers, plating herself and freshman leadoff hitter Ailana Agbayani in the first two innings. After a sac fly by Aleia Agbayani in the third inning, both sisters were done for the day.


Four starters left the game after the second inning with ‘Iolani ahead 18-0. Barrett, their third baseman, stayed in and had a monster game: 4-for-6, three homers, nine RBIs. Pitcher Allie Capello, who had a perfect game with nine strikeouts, was also pristine at the plate: 3-for-3, a home run, six RBIs, two walks and two hit by pitch. She reached base in all seven of her plate appearances.

It was a memorable ILH debut as head coach for former MLB and Japanese pro Benny Agbayani. For Damien, it’s step one toward a long road to becoming a competitive softball program. The lineup is stocked almost entirely by sophomores. If Damien seems out of its element, playing softball in one of the top two leagues in the state, there might be a long-term strategy.

Damien’s Kamele Lung (1), right, encouraged pitcher Jhasidee Van Gieson (8) during the third inning of an ILH softball game against ‘Iolani. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Assistant coach Gordon Fernandez mentioned that the program is going to generate interest among students and families. Some of that interest might come after the season from club players and, possibly, the roster of St. Francis, which closes its campus at the end of this semester.

For now, starting pitcher Gloriana Sua and her teammates, a roster of 17, are keeping their chins up.

“We know ‘Iolani is a good team. We just have to stick through it,” she said.


The Monarchs didn’t field a team on any level last year. Not junior varsity. Not intermediate. But they dove into the treacherous waters of ILH softball, a vast land chock full of future Division I college sluggers and pitchers.

Damien is one of two teams in ILH Division II. St. Francis is the defending state champion in D-II, and with recent additions, has a case for a No. 1 ranking soon.

By the book, Damien would have stepped into the waters conservatively with an intermediate or JV program first.

Fernandez filled in for head coach Eddie Kealoha, who is on the mainland watching one of his children play college softball this week.


“We’ll keep our heads up, stay the course and keep the attitudes we have,” Fernandez said.

ILH SOFTBALL STANDINGS/SCHEDULE

Damien’s Myah Foki-Chung (6) tried to make a play in the fourth inning against ‘Iolani. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

COMMENTS

  1. Falcon Future February 26, 2019 7:57 am

    38-0!!! A score like that should never be happening in any varsity sports. Shame on Iolani for running it up like that. You had to leave your starting pitcher in the whole game just to get a perfect game against a opponent that is clearly overmatched? Really?!? Why not let some of the young pitchers get some work in? Shame.


  2. ILH February 26, 2019 8:24 am

    Small kine Richard action.

    Positive thing is that there is nowhere else to go but up, plus, this will make a great story when they win the championship, whenever that happens.

    Wouldnt it be great to have all those St. Francis players come over and instantly bolster the program??


  3. KG February 26, 2019 10:47 am

    Falcon Future- For your information Iolani used none of their ace pitchers in their game against Damien. By the 3rd inning the score was 22-0 and unfortunately they could not call the game until the 5th inning. They even took out majority of their 1st string players by the 3rd inning to give their bench players playing time. Unfortunately when a program is just starting up for the first time in any sport, scoring like this will happen. So when Kamehameha, Maryknoll, St. Francis, Pac-5, Mid Pacific and Sacred Hearts plays against Damien the same outcome will probably happen again. It’s unfortunate that the score was that high. This is all a part of life lessons.


  4. Falcon Future February 26, 2019 2:35 pm

    KG – thanks for the info but I’m not buying that. Nobody said that Iolani used their ace. It doesn’t matter. They are up 22-0 after three innings and the coach decides to leave the pitcher in … At that point, you could bring in the weakest pitcher on your roster, some girl who might not otherwise get a chance to pitch all season, and give her a chance. If she gives up 10 runs, so what? Your team is still up 22-10.

    And you yourself say that Iolani took out “majority of the 1st string players.” Hello? Why not take them ALL out? The story says the third baseman played the whole game and hit 3 home runs. I don’t fault her. I blame the coaches. That’s bush league and padding the stats. I feel sorry for any other Iolani girl who might have missed their only chance to play 3rd base this year.

    You are right that other teams will beat down Damien this year. I just believe that the other schools will do it with a lot more class.


  5. Bumby February 27, 2019 12:51 am

    Falcon Future, the pitcher for Iolani was a freshman.


  6. Bumby February 27, 2019 1:01 am

    The Iolani pitcher is a freshman.

    Does a coach tell his player to swing at balls and miss so they strike out?

    As a parent who child is playing for Damien would you want the school to bring in players from St Francis so that they can compete and win, with the possibility your child who plays now may not see the field?


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