Nervous Chargers jolt Kealakehe to advance

Braelynn Kaulu-Choy Foo is welcomed by teammates at home plate after socking a grand slam against Kealakehe on Tuesday in the opening round of the DataHouse/HHSAA Softball State Championships at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser

All season long, the Pearl City Chargers plugged away, taking a lump here and there, but staying close to the top in the ruthless OIA West.

Tonight, they are in the elite eight of the DataHouse/HHSAA Softball State Championships.

“We feel very fortunate,” Pearl City coach Chad Obara said. “A lot of them are playing in the state tournament for the first time. We expected them to come out nervous. We told them to try and welcome it instead of trying to fight it and feel like it was a negative thing. They got it under control.

They sure did. With the score at 4-all, bases loaded, Noel Saunders patiently drew a walk to bring in the go-ahead run. Braelynn Kaulu-Choy Foo followed with a grand slam to open the lead as Pearl City went on to a 19-4 win. The Chargers will meet No. 1 seed Campbell in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

It was all about calming down in the clutch. Or maybe after the biggest hit of the game.

“Early in the game, she was a little overwhelmed by the situation, but she settled down,” Obara said of Kaulu-Choy Foo. “We gave her verbal cues foe as to what she needs to hear so that she can execute the way she is capable of executing. Fortunately, she got a pitch that she liked. That settled everybody down at that point.”

Pearl City lost at Campbell, 5-4, on Mar. 13, and again at home, 5-2, on Apr. 7. The quarterfinal game will begin at 7 p.m., Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.


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