Boy Eldredge hasn’t been coaching the Punahou softball team long enough to know exactly how long the drought was.
He just knows it’s been ages since the Buffanblu beat Kamehameha. They did that with conviction on Wednesday afternoon, trouncing the visiting Warriors 13-5 in a key Interscholastic League of Honolulu showdown. Instead of falling two wins behind, Punahou is now tied with Kamehameha atop the league standings at 5-2.
The win snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Warriors in the regular season dating back to 2014.
“They got over the hump,” Eldredge said. “The program hadn’t beaten Kamehameha in a long time. It’s good to get over the hump. Believing is half the battle.”
The Buffanblu lost to Kamehameha in the league opener, 17-7, in five innings at the Warriors’ field. This time, they swatted 16 hits, including home runs by Bailey Akimseu (3-for-5, three RBIs) and D’Asha Saiki (3-for-3, five RBIs).
A waterfall seven-run third inning by the home team thwarted the visitors, who got a mammoth two-run homer in the top of the inning from Dallas Millwood.
Kennedy Ishii was effective on the mound, allowing four runs on six hits over six innings. She walked six and didn’t strike out a batter, but did her best work with runners on base. It was a heady, savvy performance by a veteran pitcher who had a near-flawless defense behind her. The hitting attack was consistent; only one batter didn’t get a hit.
“Punahou hit the ball well,” Kamehameha coach James Millwood said. “Their No. 9 hitter had four hits.”
Eri Mizuguchi was 4-for-4 from the nine hole. She smacked a double, had an RBI and scored three runs. She added a stolen base for one of the best individual performances of the season.
Kamehameha’s young pitchers took their licks, but never stopped battling. After Momi Lyman and Kilinahe Pascua — Pascua was the losing pitcher — left the game, Reese Mokuau pitched 4 2/3 innings, striking out four and walking four.
With Maryknoll at 4-2, the ILH chase is in full sprint at this point. Punahou, winner in five of its last six games, has all the momentum. Before the win over Kamehameha, the Buffanblu edged Maryknoll 5-4 in eight innings.
“Our win over Maryknoll, and our win today, it’s helping with our confidence,” said Saiki, who has committed to Cal.
Her opposite-field homer was a sight to behold.
“They keep pitching her away, but she can take it out that way,” Eldredge said.