They have one of the longest pre-game drives in the state tourney, but the mighty Mules of Leilehua can’t help enjoying the ride.
The ride from Wahiawa to Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium on Tuesday was all about business, but getting out of class to arrive in time for a 2 p.m. game was probably a bit surreal. Coach Wendell Au says there’s a lot of communication involved for teachers and players alike.
It’s a good problem, for sure. The Mules are one step closer to a possible state title after a 12-1 win over Baldwin in five innings in the opening round of the DataHouse/HHSAA Softball State Championships.
“Baldwin was 13-0 until they lost two games in a row to Lahainaluna. They’re a good team through history,” Au said. “At the beginning, it was close and we’ve got to get through our own demons. Sometimes we get a lead and then we level off, but we’ve go to learn to keep plugging away,” Au said. “To get this first game out of the way, now we can keep rolling.”
The Mules will have that advantage of experience on the synthetic turf of the college facility. When they play ILH champion Maryknoll on Wednesday in a 4:30 p.m. battle, it will be a rematch of a preseason game that went to an international tiebreaker.
There were so many contributions top to bottom, the kind of formula that has made the Mules so difficult to counter. They were ranked No. 1 earlier in the season. Anything remains possible, especially when the Mules are poised.
“It’s just knowing that my team has my back,” said pitcher Kamryn Kamakaiwi, who went the full five innings for a three-hitter, adding a two-run home run to end the game in the fifth. “I just hope we can not get so in our heads about the game and focus on one goal.”