Experienced infield sets tone for powerful Kamehameha Warriors

Kamehameha’s Keila Kamoku was greeted after hitting a two-run homer against Punahou in this 2020 matchup. Dennis Oda / Star-Advertiser (Mar. 4, 2020).

The 2020 softball season was off to a promising start for the Kamehameha Warriors.

Then the eternal pause began. Eternal no more, of course. The Interscholastic League of Honolulu ’21 spring season is here, and the Warriors open with rival Punahou on Wednesday afternoon.

“We lost four seniors from last year, of which two were starters. Fortunately, we have mostly the same returnees. We have the same team for the most part minus our graduates and a few that are now on D-II,” Warriors Coach Leo Sing Chow said.

Keila Kamoku, who signed with Ole Miss, is an elite shortstop with eye-popping power at the plate. When Kamehameha hosted Punahou last year, prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, she blasted a home run that cleared two fences.

Kamoku is part of a strong infield.

“We have almost the same infield: Destiny Lum, Nevaeh Telles, Colby McClinton, Li‘i Sulusi and Keila, and the same pitchers and catchers,” Sing Chow said.

The pitchers are Momi Lyman and Madison Rabe with Nicole Donahue behind the plate.

“Our outfield has a few new faces as we lost two seniors to graduation,” Sing Chow noted.

Newcomers to the D-I roster include Moani Alama, who played on the D-II squad last year. Kenna Higa, who can play third base and first base, is another key addition. Rylee Gaudia provides depth at catcher.

Sing Chow also noted that many players from neighbor islands opted out or were unable to play.

“This season has been like no other season. It has been about flexibility and adapting to our circumstances as our situations continue to evolve. We’ve had to be creative and coach in ways that we’ve never coached before with more rules, and from a distance. It has most definitely been a learning opportunity for both the players and us coaches,” she said.

The Warriors’ softball field has been a work in progress.

“It needed to be fixed up and redone as no one had used it for a year. It has been worked on constantly by our school to make sure it is safe to play on before our first game,” Sing Chow said.

The Warriors had one scrimmage, with Mid-Pacific, and no tournament games in quick preseason.

“With a combination of the rainy weather, COVID regulations and the condition of our field, we didn’t have a lot of field time,” she said.

Now that game time here, the Warriors staff can finally exhale.

“I’m excited for our players to play games. The season thus far has been a positive learning process for us all, and they have been working hard every day to get back into shape and to get back into softball. They’ve had such positive attitudes and open mind sets where you can see that they are just grateful to be back on the field,” Sing Chow said. “They’ve been ready to work. I’m excited for them to see how all their hard work has paid off. I definitely hope they keep this same focus and work ethic all the way through the season and continue to see this season as an opportunity to grow and improve.”

Games remain restricted due to the pandemic. No spectators are allowed.


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