Ishii, Akimseu enjoy their first state-tourney win

Punahou waited to greet Bailey Akimseu after her three-run homer gave the Buffanblu a 10-2 lead over Kapolei. Photo by Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser.

The featured game of the first round of the DataHouse/HHSAA Softball State Championships could have been one of those heavyweight slugfests.

Haymakers and maybe a high-scoring extravaganza. Instead, Punahou got a superb pitching performance from Kennedy Ishii and Bailey Akimseu sealed the win with a three-run homer in the fifth inning as Punahou stymied Kapolei 10-2 on Tuesday night at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.

“I think that was close to a perfect game. We knew Kapolei was strong,” said Akimseu, a first baseman who also has a closer role when asked. “Kennedy pitched a really nice game. She let the batters hit and we played for her.”

Punahou advanced to the quarterfinal round and will play MIL champion Lahainaluna on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. That’s a quick turnaround from a Tuesday game that ended at roughly 9:15 p.m. No matter. The Buffanblu look very much like a balanced team with all the possibilities in a one-and-done tourney.

“You know what, we went up against a good pitcher. That was a great challenge, going up against someone who throws the ball hard. The girls were disciplined and looked for the ball down,” Punahou coach Boy Eldredge said of Kapolei ace Cira Bartolotti. “These girls haven’t been to a state tournament before, so all of them had felt a few butterflies, but we had a good first inning, got some runs on the board and we could relax a little.”

Ishii was key, keeping one of the best hitting teams in the state relatively quiet at the plate.

“She struggled a little bit the last few games. She walked a few more than she usually does, so we talked to her the last few days about getting back into rhythm, not trying to do too much and get into the strike zone,” Eldredge said.

The springy synthetic turf seemed to have no effect on Punahou. The teams that played on day one may have a distinct advantage over league champions that had a bye and will not experience the turf until Wednesday.

Akimseu is a pretty solid contact hitter who happens to have power.

“Yesterday, we worked on how to read risers and that’s what happened today,” she said. “Every time when they walk someone ahead of me, I said, ‘You’re not going to strike me out.’ I didn’t know it was going over until everyone started cheering.”

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. It’s time May 9, 2018 5:55 am

    Buff & Blu

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