Home runs in softball at a record pace

Kapolei's Laugatausala Pedebone, the 2016 OIA West player of the year, hit five career home runs in the state tournament. Photo by Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser

The home run explosion is not limited to Major League Baseball.

The hitters on the highest level of softball in Hawaii have evolved as well.

While the MLB has its Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Nolan Arenado, the HHSAA boasts of Jocelyn Alo, Mysha Sataraka and Kelsie Hee.

There has been an average of more than one home run per game in each of the last three years of the state tournament, the first time that has ever happened. The long ball nearly went extinct around the turn of the century. In 2000-2001, pitchers like Mitzi Ing of ‘Iolani, Baldwin’s Shannon Tabion and Leo Sing Chow of Kamehameha ruled. Twelve of the 22 games in the winner’s bracket ended with a shutout and no losing team scored more than two runs in any game.

Both of those tournaments were at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium, but in 2002 hitters began to strike back at the same venue. After two years without seeing a girl circle the bases, Kamehameha’s Sing Chow hit two home runs from the plate and won three games in the circle.

Here’s a chart of home runs per game per year.

The biggest jump happened between 2010 and 2011, when Division II hitters began feasting on pitchers and trying to bomb their way to state titles. Kelsie Hee of St. Francis led the way with two home runs in a 20-12 loss to Waimea and Leisha Liilii of Castle hit a pair in a 9-7 Division I win over Campbell.

In 2012 Gaylan Matagiese of Waimea became the first girl to blast three round-trippers in one game, doing so in a 12-8 win over Waipahu at Central Oahu Regional Park. She wasn’t alone in the club for long, though, as Alexis Paulo-Meyers of Nanakuli blasted three to account for her team’s four runs in the Division II state final at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium (a 12-4 loss to Matagiese’s Waimea team). Matagiese finished with four home runs in that tournament, which featured 39 dingers in 22 games.

Home runs dropped a bit despite Hee and Paulo-Meyers playing as seniors, but it is on the rise once again. The newest edition of the state tournament begins next week with Roosevelt’s Mari Foster and the St. Francis pair of Sammie Ofia and Kaena Keliinoi threatening UH’s tennis courts.

HHSAA career home runs
6: Kelsie Hee, St. Francis
5: Alexis Paulo-Meyers, Nanakuli
5: Gaylan Matagiese, Waimea
5: Autumn McCoy, Nanakuli
5: Salah Pedebon, Kapolei
3: Jocelyn Alo, Campbell
3: Elisa Favela, Campbell
3: Leisha Liilii, Castle
3: Prescious Paulo-Meyers, Nanakuli

And for some more names from the past:

Career home runs leaders for 2018 state tournament teams:
Kealakehe: none
Pearl City: Marina Gusman-Brown (2006), 2
Campbell: Joselyn Alo (2017) and Elisa Favela (2016), 3
Punahou: Reina Furuya (2012) and Mysha Sataraka (2011), 2
Kapolei: Salah Pedebon (2016), 5
Lahainaluna: Five with 1
Baldwin: Nicole Alconcel (2007) and Sanoe Kekahuna (2006), 2
Leilehua: Krystin Kubo (2011), Kyla Larson (2013) and Pikake Nutter-Gaudinet (2003), 2
Maryknoll: Sarah Onishi (2014), 2
Roosevelt: none
Mililani: Merilis Rivera (2017), Courtney Senas (2008) and Maya Yoshiura (2015), 2
Waiakea: None

Kapaa: Jocelyn Enrique (2008), 2
Aiea: Trinity Atuitasi (2017), 2
Konawaena: Gina Pabre (1992), 3
Molokai: Shalei Borden (2006) and Cami-Leigh Horner (2016), 1
St. Francis: Kelsie Hee (2013), 6
Kohala: Mikayla Kekoa (2017) and Setsuko Kimura (2017), 1
KS-Hawaii: Five with one
Honokaa: Kayla Raquelman (2012), 1
Kaimuki: Genesis Fruean (2005) and Tyleen Tausaga (2002), 1
Kalani: Kristi Belshe (2010) and Kristiann Endow (2009), 1
Waimea: Gaylan Matagiese (2013), 5
Waialua: none

Division I

Game #DateMatchupTime/ScoresSite
1May 8Kealakehe vs. Pearl CityPC, 19-4 (5)Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
2May 8Baldwin vs. LeilehuaLei, 12-1 (5)Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
3May 8Roosevelt vs. MililaniMil, 6-1Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
4May 8Punahou vs. KapoleiPun, 10-2Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
5*May 9Baldwin vs. RooseveltRoos, 20-1 (4)Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
6May 9(4) Lahainaluna vs. PunahouPun, 10-4Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
7May 9(3) Waiakea vs. MililaniMil, 4-3Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
8May 9(2) Maryknoll vs. LeilehuaLei, 10-5Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
9May 9(1) Campbell vs. Pearl CityCamp, 10-7Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
10*May 10Kealakehe vs. KapoleiKapo, 7-0Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
11*May 10Pearl City vs. LahainalunaPC, 12-8McKinley
12*May 10Maryknoll vs. WaiakeaMryk, 12-0 (6)McKinley
13May 10Leilehua vs. MililaniLei, 13-0 (5)Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
14May 10Campbell vs. PunahouPun, 11-3Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
15*May 11Roosevelt vs. KapoleiRoos, 4-2McKinley
16*May 11Pearl City vs. MaryknollTie, 1-1 (5)McKinley
17*May 11Campbell vs. MililaniMil, 2-0McKinley
18May 11Punahou vs. LeilehuaLei, 14-4 (6)Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
* — consolation

Division II

Game #DateMatchupTime/ScoresSite
1May 8St. Francis vs. KohalaStF, 10-0 (5)McKinley
2May 8Aiea vs. KonawaenaKona, 7-3McKinley
3May 8Honokaa vs. KaimukiHon, 11-8McKinley
4May 8Waimea vs. WaialuaWaim, 15-5 (6)McKinley
5*May 9Kohala vs. AieaKoh, 9-1McKinley
6May 9(4) Molokai vs. St. FrancisStF, 13-1 (5)McKinley
7May 9(2) KS-Hawaii vs. HonokaaKSH, 11-1 (6)McKinley
8May 9(3) Kalani vs. WaimeaKaln, 6-3McKinley
9May 9(1) Kapaa vs. KonawaenaKona, 9-4McKinley
10*May 10Kaimuki vs. WaialuaWail, 6-5McKinley
11*May 10Honokaa vs. WaimeaWaim, 5-3 (5)McKinley
12*May 10Molokai vs. KapaaKapaa, 11-2 (5)McKinley
13May 10KS-Hawaii vs. KalaniKSH, 8-7Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
14May 10St. Francis vs. KonawaenaStF, 8-7Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
15*May 11Kohala vs. WaialuaKoh, 11-4 (5)Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
16*May 11Waimea vs. KapaaWaim, 10-9 (3)Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
17*May 11Kalani vs. KonawaenaKaln, 5-4McKinley
18May 11KS-Hawaii vs. St. FrancisStF, 10-0 (5)Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
* — consolation


  1. Falcon Future May 4, 2018 12:54 pm

    Does anybody know how St. Francis can basically be the overall ILH champ, beat every single ILH Div-I team, and not get a bye in the Div-II state tournament?

    Even if it is a numbers game based on league participation, this does not pass the common sense test.

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