An 11-1 loss to West power Mililani in the OIA semifinals might be just what East champion Kaiser needed.
“Eminem said it: ‘Snap back to reality, oh there goes gravity,’ ” Kaiser coach Mitch Matsumoto said. “Our goal was to get the bye as the East’s top seed and to make it to states. We did it. Now we can say that we are one of the best 12 teams in the state.
“The teams in the West are hands down better. More kids play ball there. We play the hand we’re dealt with. Mililani is a really good team.”
Kylie Bello’s grand slam over the fence in center field keyed a six-run second inning for the Trojans for a 7-1 lead. Keri Togami and Maya Yoshiura contributed with RBI hits in the big inning.
“I got my hands out and it went out out,” said Bello about her second homer of the season. “I got lucky.”
Kristen Ishii’s RBI double off the fence in the fourth and Tristan Cozo’s two-run single in the sixth kept the Mililani offense going. The Trojans also scored on a Sabers error in the fifth.
“The girls were hitting the ball,” Trojans coach Rose Antonio said. “I hope that continues. The OIA championship is a déjà vu (Mililani defeated Campbell in the big game a year ago). They’re very athletic and a very well coached team.”
Kaiser plays at home today at 3 p.m. against Pearl City in the third-place game.
“We will feed off of this loss,” Cougars losing pitcher Crystal Ching-Lake said. “We’ll come back stronger and harder.”
Tiana Ching-Lake drilled a first-inning RBI single for Kaiser’s only run.