‘Iolani has a little bit of everything on the softball field.
They can hit, pitch, hit for power, and play defense.
But, more importantly, while they’re doing those things well, they’re also running the bases aggressively. And they bunt. Classic small ball.
“Everybody in the lineup has to know how to bunt,” said Raiders coach Benny Agbayani, who played in Japan and may have gotten some of that small-ball wisdom by osmosis. “Every one of them might have to bunt at any given time.”
In Saturday’s 8-3 victory over Mid-Pacific (both teams are ranked No. 5 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10) at McKinley’s field, the Raiders scored the eventual winning run in that style.
With the score knotted at 3, ‘Iolani came to the plate in the fourth with an eye on taking the lead. Anna Arita led off with a bunt hit and Lexie Tilton sacrificed her to second. Arita took third on Ailana Agbayani‘s groundout and a walk to Aleia Agbayani put runners on the corners.
Well, what does one do with two outs? Double steal of course.
Aleia Agbayani took off, drawing the throw and successfully making it to second. Seeing that, Arita took off for home and just beat the tag.
“I knew Aleia did her job (getting) down to second,” Arita said. “I saw the throw go down and that was my green light, so I went as fast as I could. Then I saw the safe sign and I ran back to the dugout. I was a little nervous. It was a close call. But I knew I had a foot in there.”
The umpire was ready with his arm to call her out, but called safe instead.
Aleia Agbayani had a homer, a triple and three RBIs. She also pitched a complete game to earn the victory, giving up 10 hits but walking only one.
‘Iolani is now tied with Punahou at 9-2 atop the ILH. Mid-Pacific is 7-4, with Maryknoll at 6-4. St. Francis, a Division II team that plays all league D-I and D-II teams, is 7-3.
Big tests await the Raiders. They play at Punahou on Monday and against St. Francis at Ala Wai on Saturday.
The Owls play Damien (0-10) at home Wednesday and Sacred Hearts (1-9) at Ala Wai on Saturday.
Mid-Pacific pitcher Lea Hanawahine went the distance in the loss, allowing seven hits and five walks while striking out nine.