It was sheer joy for Ashlyn Okamoto when the ball left her bat and sailed over the left-center field fence at the Kamehameha softball field.
The ‘Iolani senior shortstop is not known for power hitting. After a 4-4 tie against Kamehameha on Friday, both head coach Dean Yonamine and assistant Lois Manin said they thought it was her first home run.
And they were right. Okamoto shared that information a little later.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever hit it over the fence in my life, so that was crazy,” she said. “Last season, I didn’t hit at all, in the flex position (who the designated player bats for). This past summer, I worked hard to try and get my hitting back so I can help the team out and it’s starting to pay off.”
Too bad her home run trot needs work. She stopped at second base after her second-inning smash, thinking it was a ground-rule double. In her defense, the makeshift fence made of netting is see-through so it’s hard to tell if a ball goes straight over or bounces over.
“Everyone was making fun of me afterwards because I was standing on second, but the umpire was holding up the number 2, so I stayed there. Coach (former major leaguer) Benny (Agbayani) at third said, ‘Come on, let’s go,’ so I was like ‘OK.’
From third to home, she was beaming from ear to ear. The second-inning homer gave the Raiders a temporary 2-1 lead.