Gianna Araki’s 3 homers boost Leilehua into OIA softball final

Leilehua's Gianna Araki (17) gestured after hitting one of her three home runs in a win over Waianae. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

The last time they met, Waianae seemed on the verge of a pitchers’ duel with Leilehua.

On Friday night, just like that battle back on Mar. 30, Leilehua’s bats woke up in a big way. No. 7 Leilehua rallied from a six-run deficit for a 12-8 win, paving the way for a matchup with Campbell in the OIA softball championship game on Saturday.

In their previous meeting, Waianae freshman pitcher Mya Keliiwaiwai‘ole kept Leilehua quiet for three innings in a 1-0 game. Leilehua then went after the fastballs of Alohilani Napalapalai en route to a 6-1 win. Kiana Domingo homered twice that morning, and Gianna Araki ripped one homer.

On Friday, it was Araki who was superwoman with three home runs. Two were off Keliiwaiwai‘ole, and one was against Napalapalai. Araki finished with five RBIs. The entire lineup was patient against the crafty offerings of Keliiwaiwai‘ole.

Araki’s homers came on counts of 1-2, 3-1 and 2-0.

“My approach actually changed every at-bat,” the senior catcher said. “You can’t expect to hit a home run every time.”

The experience of Leilehua, the defending state champion, shows in close games, and especially now in the playoffs.

“We’re just told to get it back one run at a time, not all at once,” said Domingo, a senior third baseman.

Domingo went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. Torie Au was 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Kawena Kahana-Travis went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

The power surge wasn’t entirely shocking for a Leilehua squad that may have the most power in the OIA. The effectiveness of junior pitcher Kylee Ancheta-Maeda was definitely a pleasant surprise for the Mules. The left-hander missed the first of the season after getting a concussion during an at-bat against Punahou. She returned to pitch against Pearl City recently. And that’s it. Barely anyone saw her pitch this season until tonight, with the bright lights on.

“A lot of my movement pitches were working. It’s the first time (Waianae) has seen me, and it’s really hard to hit against a right-hander (Alyssa Abe), then against a lefty,” Ancheta-Maeda said.

Leilehua lost in the OIA semifinals last year to Roosevelt before taking the state crown. The Lady Mules have never won the OIA softball championship. Campbell is the defending league champ.

OIA Playoffs

Updated: Apr. 22

First round
4/17Castle (E4)Kapolei (W5)Kapo, 4-2
4/18Mililani (W3)Kalani (E6)Mil, 8-3
4/17Moanalua (E3)Pearl City (W6)Moan, 14-13
4/17Waianae (W4)Kailua (E5)Wain, 6-5 (8)
4/18Campbell (W1)KapoleiCamp, 7-6 (8)
4/18Kaiser (E2)MililaniKais, 3-2
4/18Leilehua (W2)MoanaluaLei, 18-2 (5)
4/18Roosevelt (E1)WaianaeWain, 7-4
Consolation semis
4/19KapoleiMililaniKapo, 4-2
4/19MoanaluaRooseveltRoos, 9-3
Semifinals—@ McKinley
4/19CampbellKaiserCamp, 9-3
4/19LeilehuaWaianaeLei, 12-8
Fifth place
4/20RooseveltKapoleiRoos, 8-7
Third place
4/20KaiserWaianaeKais, 7-5
Final—@ McKinley
4/20CampbellLeilehuaCamp, 12-3
4/17RadfordKahukuRad, 11-0 (5)
4/17McKinleyWaipahuWaip, 19-1 (5)
4/18NanakuliRadfordRad, 9-7
4/18WaialuaWaipahuWail, 13-1 (5)
Fifth place
4/22McKinleyKahukuMcK, 13-3 (5)
Third place
4/20NanakuliWaipahuNan, 15-14
Final—@ McKinley
4/20RadfordWaialuaWail, 22-12


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