Maryknoll clinches state tournament berth

Maryknoll freshman Aloha Akaka headed toward the plate after hitting a grand slam to close out the Spartans' 15-2 win over 'Iolani in the ILH tournament championship game on Tuesday at Sand Island field. HSA PHOTO BY BRUCE ASATO

Gratified but not satisfied.

Maryknoll clinched a state tournament berth and earned a shot at the overall ILH softball title with a resounding 15-2 win over ‘Iolani in six innings on Tuesday in the league’s tournament final and left Sand Island Park looking forward to the next step.

“As a team it was a relief for us, but we still definitely need to work on a lot of stuff,” Maryknoll senior Kahilu McNicoll said. “I feel we didn’t really hit to our fullest potential today. So as a team we need to work a little bit harder to get our hitting together.”

Now that’s a scary thought considering eight Spartans combined to pound out 13 hits in the rout of the Raiders. After rallying for seven runs in the final two innings in a dramatic 12-11 semifinal win over Kamehameha last Thursday, seventh-ranked Maryknoll has scored 22 in its last eight innings heading into Thursday’s ILH championship game at No. 4 Punahou.

McNicoll, Maryknoll’s starting pitcher, helped her cause by going 3-for-4 and driving in two runs. Catcher Baylie Kahele drove in two with a bases-loaded drive in the bottom of the second that fell in for a long single when ‘Iolani outfielders collided. Freshman Aloha Akaka punctuated the onslaught with a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth to bring the 10-run rule into effect.

“From one though nine everybody hit the ball really hard,” Maryknoll coach John Uekawa said.

Maryknoll leadoff hitter Nohea Hee opened the bottom of the first inning with as sharp line drive back to ‘Iolani pitcher Aleia Agbayani. The ball smacked off Agbayani’s glove and glanced off her face, deflecting toward first base while Hee reached on the single. Agbayani had a purple welt next to her left eye but was checked out by ‘Iolani’s coaches and trainer and remained in the game.

Maryknoll took the lead with a four-run second and strung together three RBI singles with two out in a five-run fourth inning. The Spartans ended with with a six more in the bottom of the sixth, the last four coming in on Akaka’s homer well beyond the left-field fence.

“We tried to make the hitting contagious,” Kahele said.

McNicol finished with four strikeouts while holding ‘Iolani to two runs on four hits over 4 1/3 innings. Akaka, who had a rough start in the circle against Kamehameha last week, struck out three while recording the final five outs.

Maryknoll won its first ILH championship last year and will try to retain the crown on Thursday when they cross Wilder Ave. to face Punahou at 4 p.m. Punahou won the regular-season title at 9-3 and twice pulled out one-run wins over Maryknoll. The Buffanblu won the first meeting 5-4 in eight innings on March 17 and 8-7 on April 4.

‘Iolani, which went 6-6 in the regular season, opened the  tournament with a 15-8 win over Mid-Pacific on April 24 then knocked off Punahou 4-3 last Thursday to advance to the tournament final.

“We did lose a lot of games in the beginning and fought our way back through to get to this point,” Agbayani said after seeing the season end. “So I’m really proud of our team.”


  1. Falcon Future May 2, 2018 8:30 am

    Spartans! Prepare for glory!

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