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.”
|1||May 8||Kealakehe vs. Pearl City||PC, 19-4 (5)||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|2||May 8||Baldwin vs. Leilehua||Lei, 12-1 (5)||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|3||May 8||Roosevelt vs. Mililani||Mil, 6-1||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|4||May 8||Punahou vs. Kapolei||Pun, 10-2||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|5*||May 9||Baldwin vs. Roosevelt||Roos, 20-1 (4)||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|6||May 9||(4) Lahainaluna vs. Punahou||Pun, 10-4||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|7||May 9||(3) Waiakea vs. Mililani||Mil, 4-3||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|8||May 9||(2) Maryknoll vs. Leilehua||Lei, 10-5||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|9||May 9||(1) Campbell vs. Pearl City||Camp, 10-7||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|10*||May 10||Kealakehe vs. Kapolei||Kapo, 7-0||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|11*||May 10||Pearl City vs. Lahainaluna||PC, 12-8||McKinley|
|12*||May 10||Maryknoll vs. Waiakea||Mryk, 12-0 (6)||McKinley|
|13||May 10||Leilehua vs. Mililani||Lei, 13-0 (5)||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|14||May 10||Campbell vs. Punahou||Pun, 11-3||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|15*||May 11||Roosevelt vs. Kapolei||Roos, 4-2||McKinley|
|16*||May 11||Pearl City vs. Maryknoll||Tie, 1-1 (5)||McKinley|
|17*||May 11||Campbell vs. Mililani||Mil, 2-0||McKinley|
|18||May 11||Punahou vs. Leilehua||Lei, 14-4 (6)||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|* — consolation|
|1||May 8||St. Francis vs. Kohala||StF, 10-0 (5)||McKinley|
|2||May 8||Aiea vs. Konawaena||Kona, 7-3||McKinley|
|3||May 8||Honokaa vs. Kaimuki||Hon, 11-8||McKinley|
|4||May 8||Waimea vs. Waialua||Waim, 15-5 (6)||McKinley|
|5*||May 9||Kohala vs. Aiea||Koh, 9-1||McKinley|
|6||May 9||(4) Molokai vs. St. Francis||StF, 13-1 (5)||McKinley|
|7||May 9||(2) KS-Hawaii vs. Honokaa||KSH, 11-1 (6)||McKinley|
|8||May 9||(3) Kalani vs. Waimea||Kaln, 6-3||McKinley|
|9||May 9||(1) Kapaa vs. Konawaena||Kona, 9-4||McKinley|
|10*||May 10||Kaimuki vs. Waialua||Wail, 6-5||McKinley|
|11*||May 10||Honokaa vs. Waimea||Waim, 5-3 (5)||McKinley|
|12*||May 10||Molokai vs. Kapaa||Kapaa, 11-2 (5)||McKinley|
|13||May 10||KS-Hawaii vs. Kalani||KSH, 8-7||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|14||May 10||St. Francis vs. Konawaena||StF, 8-7||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|15*||May 11||Kohala vs. Waialua||Koh, 11-4 (5)||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|16*||May 11||Waimea vs. Kapaa||Waim, 10-9 (3)||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|17*||May 11||Kalani vs. Konawaena||Kaln, 5-4||McKinley|
|18||May 11||KS-Hawaii vs. St. Francis||StF, 10-0 (5)||Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium|
|* — consolation|