‘Iolani rallies from 8 runs down for 16-12 win over Mid-Pacific

‘Iolani Coach Benny Agbayani says his blood pressure spiked a bit, but the Raiders rallied from a nine-run deficit for a 16-12 win over Mid-Pacific on Saturday. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser (Apr. 3, 2021)

Steamy hot, but also rainy.

Clutch pitching and clutch hitting, and not much drama until the middle innings. By the end, ‘Iolani rallied from a 9-1 deficit to escape with a 16-12 win over Mid-Pacific on Saturday. The game began at 10 a.m. and did not finish until well past 1 p.m. on the bucolic grounds of the Owls’ softball facility.

Trailing 11-9 entering the top of the seventh inning, ‘Iolani exploded for seven runs en route to victory. Allie Capello came through with a two-run home run to give the visiting Raiders a 12-11 lead in the top of the seventh inning. Moments later, sophomore Milla Fukuda launched a three-run homer to right, providing some insurance runs for ‘Iolani.

“I can’t compare it, but for a team that started so late, you know, these girls worked hard. They made their adjustments and they took advantage of the situation. I tip my cap to them,” ‘Iolani Coach Benny Agbayani said. “They were down and they came back and won the ball game. ‘Iolani preaches ‘One Team’. That was one team. That was a good effort by the girls.”

In the midst of the heat and intermittent drizzles in Manoa Valley, a 9-1 score in the first inning on the league’s nicest (and only) softball scoreboard was a surreal sight. ‘Iolani, the 2019 state champions, may be young, but have clout and speed up and down the lineup. It had been a long time since the Raiders trailed anyone by a margin like this.

“It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish. They finished strong. They keep me on my toes. My blood pressure’s going up, but they came through. I expect them to know what to do and I expect a lot of them,” Coach Agbayani said.

Mid-Pacific hasn’t lacked offense. In two games, the Owls have scored a whopping 31 runs. They outscored Sacred Hearts, 19-9, on Wednesday.

“We have to move forward, work harder at practice,” Mid-Pacific Coach Aiko Gojo said. “We scored early. We ran aggressively. We don’t want to give the game away. We know we can compete, but we cannot be giving up 16 runs.”

It was a game that included two stoppages on disputed calls. Gojo seemed to have a bit of a Jedi mind trick working at times when the two-man umpiring crew didn’t have a vantage point to make a clear call on the basepaths.

Owls pitcher Darian Kanno kept the Raiders off balance at the plate often enough. ‘Iolani plated three runs in the top of the third inning, getting a two-run double Maya Ichimura, but it was still a comfortable lead for Kanno.

In the top of the sixth, ‘Iolani tacked on two more runs. The second came on a double steal, and the Raiders were within 11-9.

In the top of the seventh, Ailana Agbayani’s RBI single cut the margin to one run. A few pitches later, facing relief pitcher Samantha Taga, Capello went deep to left, giving ‘Iolani the lead.

“Like I told her, you hit line drives, line drives turn out to be home runs. I love the intensity. They play on the mainland, I expect them to know what they’re doing,” Coach Agbayani said. “They’re experienced players. They were freshmen in 2019 (when ‘Iolani won the state title) being juniors now. They’re like the leaders of this pack. If they go, we go.”

Moments later, Fukuda’s bomb to right opened the lead to 16-11.

Mid-Pacific threatened in the bottom of the seventh and scored a run, but Agbayani shut the door for the Raiders’ first win of the season.

Agbayani shuffled on and off the mound as Coach Agbayani searched for consistency and control. In relief of Kiara Baba (six runs, one hit, five walks, no outs recorded), Ailana Agbayani pitched a combined total of 3 2-3 innings, allowing three earned runs on two hits with five strikeouts and seven walks.

Capello entered late in the game and pitched 2 2-3 innings without permitting an earned run. The junior walked two.

‘Iolani will visit Kamehameha on Wednesday. Mid-Pacific will host Maryknoll, also on Wednesday. Maryknoll routed Punahou, 14-3, on Saturday.

At Mid-Pacific
‘Iolani (1-0) 103 122 7 — 16 15 3
Mid-Pacific (1-1) 901 100 1 — 12 6 5
Kiara Baba, Ailana Agbayani (1), Allie Capello (4), Carly Izuo and Kaylee Matsuda, Brooklyn Alejo. Darian Konno, Samantha Taga and Alyssa Nakagawa, Jenna Wong.

Leading hitters—‘Iolani: Capello 4-4, 4 RBI, 3 runs, HR, double, SB; Agbayani 3-4, 2 RBI, 3 runs, 3 SB; Matsuda 3-4, 3 RBI, 2 runs, two doubles, SB, walk; Milla Fukuda 1-2, 4 RBI, run, HR; Kennadie Tsue 1-2, 3 runs, double, 2 walks. Mid-Pacific: Nakagawa 2-3, RBI, 2 runs, walk; Taga 1-2, 3 RBI, 2 runs, 3 walks; Kaui Chun 2-4, RBI, run, walk.


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