Injuries limited Kamehameha senior Rayla Jacobs-Kea’s availability for much of the ILH season.
The right-hander targeted the state tournament for a return and delivered for the Warriors in a 2-1 first round victory over Roosevelt on Wednesday at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
“It was frustrating but I just had to trust in the process,” Jacobs-Kea said of enduring the setbacks during the regular season.
Jacobs-Kea struck out two and walked none while feeding her infield throughout a complete-game victory that sent the Warriors into the quarterfinals of the DataHouse/HHSAA Division I State Softball Championship.
“Rayla did a great job of creating groundballs and and giving us a chance to make the plays,” Kamehameha coach James Millwood said. “This is the healthiest since the second week of the season and she’s still not 100 percent. But she battled and did what she needed to do.
“It’s just been a few different things, her shoulder, her back. She knows we needed her and she stepped up and did the job for us tonight.”
The Warriors took the lead in the third when Alana Cobb-Adams scored on Dee Castillo-Hopu’s squeeze bunt. Shaylee Alani singled in an insurance run in the sixth to cap a 3-for-3 afternoon to give Jacobs-Kea just enough support to fend off the Rough Riders.
Roosevelt junior Mari Foster managed to limit the damage when the Warriors scored and Kamehameha left 10 runners on base.
Jacobs-Kea held the Rough Riders to two singles through five innings and stranded two runners in the sixth. Roosevelt made a final push in the top of the seventh when Jaeda Cabunoc singled to left and Foster followed with a double to center.
Haylie Uetake hit a grounder to second and Cabunoc beat the throw to the plate to bring the Roosevelt within a run. Foster advanced to third and stayed there on a grounder back to Jacobs-Kea for the first out. Hoku Ching’s line drive then found second baseman Castillo-Hopu’s glove to start a game-ending double play.
After losing to Maryknoll in the ILH championship game, Kamehameha played in the first round of the state tournament for the first time since 2012. The Warriors earned a bye as the ILH champion each of the last four years and lost to eventual champion Campbell in the quarterfinals last year. They’ll face BIIF champion Waiakea on Thursday in a quarterfinal matchup.
“I like this kind of game and I’m glad we were able to play a tough game and hopefully give us some momentum going into the next three,” Millwood said.
At Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
Roosevelt (11-5) 000 000 1 — 1 6 0
Kamehameha (11-3-1) 001 001 x — 2 7 0
Mari Foster and Haylie Uetake. Rayla Jacobs-Kea and Kyler Stephens. W—Jacobs-Kea L—Foster.
Leading hitters—Roosevelt: Uetake, RBI. Kamehameha: Dee Castillo-Hopu, RBI; Shaylee Alani, 3-3, 2B, RBI.