St. Francis completes ILH mission

St. Francis junior Sierrah Kupihea struck out five and walked one in a complete-game victory against Maryknoll on Tuesday at Ala Wai Field. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

St. Francis wanted to prove it could compete with the best in ILH softball, regardless of division designation.

Consider that box checked with a big blue Sharpie.

The seventh-ranked Saints pulled out a 6-5 walk-off win over No. 5 Maryknoll on Tuesday to clinch at least a tie for the best record in the ILH’s first round. St. Francis, one of just two ILH Division II teams, closed the combined schedule at 9-3 and won both of its meetings with Division I leader Punahou (8-3), which closes the first round on Wednesday against ‘Iolani.


With only two teams in Division II — St. Francis and Pac-Five — the league doesn’t officially crown a division champion and the Saints had long wrapped up the league’s berth in the Division II state tournament. But they didn’t lack for motivation throughout the season.

“That was definitely one of our goals to get to the top of the ILH,” said St. Francis senior Sammie Ofoia, who ignited the Saints with a two-run homer on Tuesday. “Just to know that we had the talent and the hard work to get there was amazing.”

Ofoia’s homer gave St. Francis the lead against Division I Maryknoll and the Saints opened up a 5-0 lead on Kaitlyn Kalani’s bases-loaded walk in the third and Joelle Perreira’s two-run single in the fourth.

Maryknoll battled back with Nohea Hee’s two-run single in the fifth and scratched out three more in the sixth, tying the game when Kahilu McNicoll’s looper into shallow left field drove in Raynna Mekaru.

St. Francis junior Sierrah Kupihea — who struck out five and walked one in a complete-game win — stranded Maryknoll runners at second to close the sixth and seventh innings and the Saints drew three consecutive walks in the bottom of the seventh. After Maryknoll third baseman Sydney Kamakaiwi snared a line drive for the first out, St. Francis senior Skye Ah Yat fell behind two strikes before drilling the game-winning single through the left side of the infield.

“I was just telling myself get it done, gotta get it done,” Ah Yat said.


The conclusion added to the Saints’ senior day festivities and sent them into a three-week break before the state tournament.

“The ILH has been kind of crazy this year and you have to fight every inning and if you make mistakes you have to be composed and overcome that,” St. Francis coach Randy Langsi said. “They showed me a lot on that. Maryknoll was making a great comeback and we kept our composure, that was important for us.”

The next challenge for the Langsi and the St. Francis coaching staff will be keeping the Saints sharp over the break. He said they’ve scheduled a scrimmage with No. 2 Leilehua this weekend and may add more to keep the Saints in game shape prior to the tournament, which opens May 8.

“It’s going to take a lot of planning on our part to stay competitive,” Langsi said. “We’re going to do everything we can to get us more preparation and we’ll be looking at the other Division II teams out there. It’s not going to get any easier. It’s a whole other season now.”

While St. Francis can look ahead to the state tournament, Maryknoll still has a hectic week to complete.


The Spartans are in the midst of a run of three games in three days. They began the week with a walk-off win over Pac-Five on Monday and face Kamehameha to close the regular season on Wednesday in Kapalama Heights.

A Maryknoll win and a Punahou loss on Wednesday would force a playoff for the first-round title and a state tournament berth. Second place could also hold considerable value in the event of a playoff for the second state berth following the upcoming Division I tournament.

COMMENTS

  1. Opinion April 18, 2018 11:48 am

    Only people they needed to prove they could compete at the D1 level is the school administrators who voluntarily chose to give the team D2 status. Other coaches and programs knew they were good enough to compete against any team in the state.


  2. Being Real April 19, 2018 1:53 pm

    Truth is most of these girls wouldn’t be starting on another ILH team. The move to DI has to be done not just on a “good year” but longevity in the program. Though rumor is they won’t even have a program next year. Let’s not forget even at D2 St. Francis has failed to even capture the D2 State title. Yes, having a good year but try to have good yearS. Just putting things in perspective.


  3. Big Bird 🐥 April 19, 2018 11:45 pm

    Funny people like to talk wen it’s not them. Yes St. Francis never win a state title in over 8 yrs and yes we in da DII. We played every team twice in da ILH nobody say anything wen we looze or get lickens from everybody. U guys just cannot b happy we’re goin to represent da ILH in da state tournament and hopefully bring a state title home. Sometimes that’s wat this school,coaches, parents, and yes especially these girls need in life something to say yes we did it, and we not perfect but yes we did it!! So wen u write and say let’s keep it real or in perspective these girls are real they have good times and bad but their pulling it together this year so give em props cause it’s hard to satisfy all u critics and just trying to be a young teenager before they go to da real world!!!


  4. Big Bird 🐥 April 20, 2018 8:39 am

    Congrats to St. Francis softball ILH DII
    Champs! These girls have come along way to make it. To the comment about some of these girls wouldn’t be starting on another ILH team, classy!!! Give them props, they just need believing in something!!! This might be something the school, coaches, and girls need before they move on to the real world!!


  5. Wendell Au April 20, 2018 10:40 am

    BEING REAL…I beg to differ on your comment! I don’t think you know much about the teams out there nor do you recognize the talents and skills of the girls on this St. Francis team. I am not only a fan of the game and I am not even a parent nor a coach of an ILH player but this team is legit and to say that these young ladies would not start on any squad is an understatement! St. Francis is a legit top five team in the entire State when it comes to sticks probably in the top three…however when St. Francis went to the State Championship game last year Aiea’s pitcher was not a DII pitcher. I don’t see anything nor any team standing in the way of St. Francis claiming a state championship, and my thing is you nor anyone should make a statement that none of those girls would crack the starting on any other ILH squad!


  6. Opinion April 20, 2018 12:51 pm

    Being real
    The school can declare year to year what division they chose to play. If they are loaded with solid underclassmen they can declare D1 the upcoming year to really challenge thier girls and team. The year after that should they graduate alot of starters they can go back down. This years team is loaded with girls that would start in ANY PROGRAM. Would have been great to see them test thier skills against the D1 OIA Power houses. Prime example pac 5 baseball moved up to D1 this year. Word is they’ll be going back down to D2 next year. I respect and commend the AD and program for challenging themselves


  7. Falcon Future April 20, 2018 12:58 pm

    I agree with Wendell Au and wondering if Being Real is actually Being Fake. How can anybody say that most of the St. Francis girls would not be starting on other ILH teams, when St. Francis just beat ALL those other teams?

    If what Being Real says is true, then St. Francis coaches must be unreal geniuses to win with lesser talent and the other ILH coaches must be terrible, right?


  8. Keep Going April 20, 2018 4:27 pm

    St. Francis is having a good year! They should actually have a good year every year because according to a parent I know on the team nearly all these girls go to St. Francis just to play softball. If St. Francis didn’t have a softball program most of the girls would leave. Seems like the theme should be backwards, why hasn’t St. Francis did better all these years?

    Wendall Au – Even if Aiea’s pitcher was a D1 pitcher, some of the girls on St. Francis are D1 players. You lose, you lose. No excuses. They just have to win this year.

    As for the being real comment. I think some of the girls would be starting on other ILH teams. All of them? No.


  9. Piilani April 22, 2018 1:48 pm

    Most of the players on this St. Francis team also play club ball, in and out of their neighborhood. Players and coaches from all teams become very familiar with each other. It’s an extended softball family, and yes, there are both OIA and ILH coaches that ask these girls to play on their team. But there are reasons, unknown to others besides the families, for the girls choosing to play for St. Francis – smaller class size and affordability to name a couple. Whatever the reason may be, they are celebrating a successful season while they continue to excel academically as well. It’s unfortunate that not all adults “being real” can take to social media to simply say, “Congratulations!” to these young ladies for their diligence and hard work.


  10. ILH April 23, 2018 1:38 pm

    1. Congratulations on a great season.
    2. Great Bats 1-9.
    3. Players COULD start at any other school.
    4. Coaches really care about their players.
    4. Success too inconsistent to consider moving up to DI next year.
    5. Too much in-house drama.
    6. Some, not all the parents, dont no how “for act” at the games.
    7. Goes to St. Francis boys baseball games and cheer obnoxiously, since the boys were warned about their dugout behavior.

    Showing class in all aspects, winning, losing, how your parents act, how the players behave off the field when they are together as a group have been inconsistent. it is understood that the rapid growth and success in such a short time will have some growing pains-ish stuff happening but, this is happening not only with the SB, but also with FB and Baseball and Basketball.
    It is apparent that there is a need for a leader to address these items and the culture that is being nurtured and perpetuated there.

    Mind you, this is only one Joe Schmoes opinion and will most likely be disagreed with by many but for those who are invested in HS sports in some way will undoubtedly know that what I am sharing is happening.

    Lets be the role models our players Need.


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