State softball tournament about to obliterate record for most homers

Saree-Ann Kekahuna of Baldwin hit one of the many home runs at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium on Wednesday. Photo by Jerry Campany/Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s hitters had quite a launch party on the first day of the Division I state softball championships at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.

There were 13 home runs hit in the four games.

Those 13 dingers trails the record 16 hit by the field in 2016. Last year’s entire tournament had 12 home runs, and there are seven games left in this edition.

The game changed in 2011, when there was an average of 6.59 runs scored and 12 balls left the park. The year before teams scored 3.91 runs per game and only four girls hit home runs. There had never been double-digit home runs in a tournament until 2011 — there have been seven tournaments with as many since.

Leilehua and Kapolei combined for seven home runs by themselves on Wednesday, with Puakea Milbourne and Jacelyn Kepaa leading the way with two each. Jade Behic of Kapolei and Alyssa Auncion and Alyssa Abe of Leilehua all earned leisurely strolls around the bases.

How crazy did it get at Manoa?

Waianae became just the second school in Division I state history to score 10 runs and lose, joining Hilo’s 1992 team when the Vikings lost by the same 11-10 score to Nanakuli. Kapolei became just the fifth school to score nine or more runs and lose after falling to Leilehua 11-9. The Hurricanes have done it twice, falling 10-9 to Mililani in 2015.

The slew of scoring wasn’t limited to Division I last night, as Radford and Molokai were tied at 16-all in the sixth.

The record for most runs scored in a loss is 17 by Kohala against Waipahu’s 19 in 2006 and matched by Molokai in Wednesday’s 18-17 loss to Radford.

The following chart shows the recent offensive explosion. The red line is home runs in Division I state tournament winner’s bracket games while the blue line is average runs per game.

Hitters were actually ahead of the game when the tournament began in 1977, but pitching and defense took over until something happened in 2011.

Here are Wednesday’s bombers in Division I:
>> Saree-Ann Kekahuna, Baldwin
>> Xailey Kamealoha, Waianae
>> Aleia Agbayani, Iolani
>> Kailyn Barrett, Iolani
>> Puakea Milbourne, Kapolei (2)
>> Jade Behic, Kapolei
>> Alyssa Asuncion, Leilehua
>> Jacelyn Kepaa, Leilehua (2)
>> Alyssa Abe, Leilehua
>> Maya Nakamura, Roosevelt
>> Kenna Higa, Roosevelt


  1. Su May 2, 2019 6:02 am

    You missed Maya Nakamura, Roosevelt

  2. Jerry Campany May 2, 2019 9:34 am

    Thanks, it has been fixed.

  3. Coach/fan May 2, 2019 12:01 pm

    Well, as great as the hitters seem to be now, I think the real reason is the lack of dominant pitchers. Gone are the days of Pomai Kapule, Mitzi Ing, Shannon Tabion, Amber Waracka, Keiki Carlos, etc. Pitching and defense wins championships, but this year may be the exception.

  4. Su May 2, 2019 1:44 pm

    The biggest factor is that the NFHS pitching distance increased from 40 feet to 43 feet in 2011. That made a huge difference in shifting the balance of power from pitchers to hitters. However, there have still been some dominant pitchers in recent years like Kamalani Dung and Danielle Cervantes. But you are correct that this year the pitching is down.

  5. Falcon Future May 2, 2019 2:55 pm

    @Su, awesome info. I would add that the composite bats that the girls use now are WAAAY better than the bats that were used 10+ years ago. The bats are light so the girls can catch up to fast pitchers, but still produce unreal exit velo.

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