A courageous smile tells the story for Nellie McEnroe-Marinas.
Days after her nephew, Xavier, died, she is dedicating her state tournament to him. That includes a two-run home run on Tuesday that helped Maryknoll topple third-seeded Baldwin, 13-2, at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
“My nephew passed away a couple days ago. The two hearts was for him,” McEnroe-Marinas said, referring to her gesture after rounding the bases, tapping her heart twice and pointing to the sky. “It feels actually pretty good because the rest of the team made stickers and we put them on the back of our helmets to show our love and support.”
ILH runner-up Maryknoll (17-5) will play the Kapolei-Kaiser winner in Wednesday’s 5 p.m. semifinal round matchup.
Jenna Sniffen and Ua Nakoa-Chung combined on a three-hitter as Maryknoll advanced.
“This is for Xavier,” Nakoa-Chung said.
Carys Murakami’s two-run single opened the margin to three runs, and Breli Agbayani-Shibao’s RBI single made it 4-0 in the Spartans’ favor during the top of the second inning.
Baldwin got on the scoreboard with a solo home run to center by Bailey Nagasako in the bottom of the second.
Jayda Tabisola’s solo home run to left in the bottom of the third cut the lead to 4-2.
Nakoa-Chung took the mound in the bottom of the fourth for Maryknoll. The Spartans added two runs in the top of the sixth on the homer by McEnroe-Marinas, a commit to national champion Oklahoma.
In the seventh, Haylee Cathcart’s sinking line dive, under the glove of the center fielder, brought in two runs. Murakami’s single to right scored Cathcart from third base for a 9-2 Maryknoll lead.
Murakami then stole third base and scored on a throwing error, opening the flood gates. In all, the Spartans scored seven runs in the seventh.