The offseason road from Maryknoll to Leilehua was unexpected, but satisfying for Kamryn Kamakaiwi.
The fire-balling southpaw came through in a big way on Wednesday, firing a two-hit shutout in Leilehua’s 11-0, five-inning win over No. 10 Mililani. That gave Leilehua a 9-3 mark and a share of the OIA West softball regular-season title. The Mules enter the playoffs ranked No. 2 in the Star-Advertiser Softball Top 10 while being second, according to the league tiebreakers and seedings, in the West.
Kamakaiwi also went 2-for-3 at the plate with a two-run home run and a double. She also scored twice. The Mules as a whole played with intensity, unity and fun. Each time they took the field, Kamakaiwi and center fielder Mikayla Pinera met at the back of the mound. They’d face each other and play jun ken po before going their separate ways.
“We just started doing that,” Kamakaiwi said. “Before that, we did a bow-and-arrow shot for every out.”
The bow and arrow was something Kamakaiwi did with younger sister Sydney while both were at Maryknoll.
“I miss her a lot,” she said.
Leilehua (12-4 overall) has three aces in the eyes of head coach Wendell Au.
“It’s all about matchups and the next one up,” he said. “The makeup games had us playing Monday and Tuesday last week and this week. That sets the plate for the playoffs.”
Au’s first season as head coach has been filled with highlights. The Mules have launching-pad power with this lineup: Giana Araki at the No. 3 slot, followed by Kaena Nistal, Kamakaiwi and Alyssa Ascunsion. They combined to hit 6-for-12 against Mililani.
“Truly, it’s a team thing, a team buy-in,” Au said. “We want to just stay together and keep strong.”
For Kamakaiwi, the journey has turned out as well as hoped.
“It feels like home,” she said.