Before we move on to an OIA Red-tinted semifinal night of the Division I state softball tournament, a look back at the conclusion of a dramatic quarterfinal round.
Aubree Kim had to pause before answering a question on the accomplishment she’d just completed.
“Wait, it was a no hitter?” Kim asked.
It seems in the excitement following Mililani’s dramatic 3-2 win over Maryknoll on Wednesday, Kim didn’t realize she’d held the Spartans without a hit while striking out 13 and helping the Trojans advance to the semifinals of the DataHouse/HHSAA Division I State Softball Championship.
Kim thought a pop fly to left field that fell in had wiped out the possibility of a no-hitter.
The play in the top of the sixth inning was ruled an error and by game’s end was an integral part of the game’s narrative.
Mililani led 1-0 going into the sixth inning when Kim walked the first two Maryknoll hitters and Erica Inagaki beat the throw to third on Jerae Kel’iikoa’s bunt to load the bases.
Keri Togami caught a fly ball to right and Inagaki tagged up but stopped her sprint to the plate when Togami’s throw arrived well ahead of her. A rundown back to third completed a double play while the other two runners advanced.
Mylee Enos then fell behind two strikes and it appeared the Trojans would retain the lead when she hit a fly to shallow left.
Enter Kylyn Sasaki.
Sasaki ranged over to her left while shortstop Jade Yadao-Valdez broke back. The ball popped into then out of Sasaki’s glove, falling to the grass while both Maryknoll runners came around to the plate to give the Spartans a 2-1 lead.
Time out was called as the Trojans regrouped and seemingly the entire team went out to pick up Sasaki.
Kim ended the inning with her 10th strikeout and Sasaki was the sixth batter due to hit in the bottom of the inning.
“I wanted to hit,” Sasaki said, “that’s all I wanted.”
The Trojans tied it up by the time Sasaki’s wish was granted. They put two runners on, a bunt moved them into scoring position and Justine Fabella grounded a single through the right side of the infield to score Karly Macadangdang with the tying run.
Markie Okamoto walked, bringing Sasaki to the plate.
She got a second chance at her shot at redemption when a foul pop up was allowed to drop rather than risk Kristen Ishii tagging up to score the go-ahead run. Sasaki then drilled the next pitch up the middle to give Mililani the lead.
“It meant a lot because I just had to believe in myself and I knew my team had my back,” Sasaki said. “That’s what got me there.”
Kim struck out the side in the top of the seventh to end the game.
Kim was called for a series of illegal pitches in the top of the first that contributed to three straight walks to start the game. She escaped the inning without a allowing a run and thoughts of the no-hitter were lost in the late inning rush and Sasaki’s turn in fortune.
“That’s probably the best thing that could happen,” Kim said. “I feel so happy her for her, she really deserves it.”
The late game capped an already remarkable day at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium that featured:
>> Leilehua, which qualified for states with the OIA’s sixth and final berth, reaching the final four with a blowout win over previously unbeaten Hilo.
>> Mid-Pacific rallying for three runs in the bottom of the sixth in a 5-4 win over Baldwin. Sarah Onishi’s two-run single gave the Owls the lead for good and she’s driven in seven runs in two tournament games.
>> Campbell’s upset of top-seeded Kamehameha behind sophomore Elisa Favela’s two-hit pitching performance and spectacular defense.