Waianae wasn’t fazed by No. 2 Roosevelt’s previously undefeated record heading into Thursday’s OIA quarterfinals. Come playoff time, every team comes in with a clean slate.
So when the Seariders (9-5) dealt the Rough Riders (12-1) their first loss of the season in a 7-4 victory at Stevenson Middle School, it wasn’t necessarily viewed as an upset to those on the team that put the work in, despite the discrepancy in seeding. Waianae entered as the No. 4 seed from the OIA West while Roosevelt was the OIA East’s top seed.
“It was really important to make a statement to beat the No. 1 team in the East because we don’t take anybody lightly. We just come in, do work and we’re praying we come out with the win,” Waianae shortstop Tyra Lynn Pai said. “We knew what we were expecting, we knew they were No. 1. We just had to stay relaxed and work to get the dub.”
After its 6-5 first round victory in eight innings over Kailua on Wednesday, Alohilani Napalapalai says the team wasn’t satisfied.
“We really stepped up and started hitting. We were struggling on our hitting so yesterday after our game against Kailua, we went into the cages and we hit off the machine,” she said. “I think that worked for us today.”
“They work hard and we push them hard, and like I told them, it pays off,” Waianae coach Robert Kalaola added of his team’s work ethic. “Hard work pays off. Roosevelt’s a very good team. We came out hitting. If we stay on our game plan and the girls keep on doing what they’re doing, it’ll be an exciting game.”
Pai and Napalapalai led the way for the Seariders. Pai was a catalyst at the leadoff spot, going 4-for-4, including an RBI double in the top of the sixth that gave the Seariders the lead for good.
Napapalai picked up the win in four shutout innings of relief with five strikeouts, three of which were via looking. At the plate, she helped her own cause with a two-run home run in the third.
The Seariders were also aided by Xailey Kamealoha’s clutch defense at third base, which included two assists on relays from the outfield to nail two Roosevelt baserunners out at home.
“I was feeling really under pressure but my team really backed me up catching those pop flies out there and getting the girls at home,” Napalapalai said. “We really played as a team today.”
“I think that was really clutch because most of the plays were at home,” Pai said of the team’s timely defense.
Up next for the Seariders is a matchup with Leilehua in the semifinals at 5 p.m. at McKinley on Friday.
“We’re 1-1 against Leilehua. They’re tough,” Kalaola said. “Roosevelt is really tough too, we just have to stick to our game plan and execute like we did today. It should be a good game.”
Roosevelt, which started its season 12-0, now faces elimination if it can’t beat Moanalua in tomorrow’s consolation semifinals. The winner of the matchup also clinches one of the OIA’s six allotted slots in the HHSAA tournament.
“We just told them that the season is not over,” Rough Riders coach Kristin Fujii-Dias said. “We just gotta shake it off because we still have states, we still got one more chance. They just gotta come back tomorrow and play like there’s no tomorrow.”
Updated: Apr. 22
|4/17||Castle (E4)||Kapolei (W5)||Kapo, 4-2|
|4/18||Mililani (W3)||Kalani (E6)||Mil, 8-3|
|4/17||Moanalua (E3)||Pearl City (W6)||Moan, 14-13|
|4/17||Waianae (W4)||Kailua (E5)||Wain, 6-5 (8)|
|4/18||Campbell (W1)||Kapolei||Camp, 7-6 (8)|
|4/18||Kaiser (E2)||Mililani||Kais, 3-2|
|4/18||Leilehua (W2)||Moanalua||Lei, 18-2 (5)|
|4/18||Roosevelt (E1)||Waianae||Wain, 7-4|
|4/17||Radford||Kahuku||Rad, 11-0 (5)|
|4/17||McKinley||Waipahu||Waip, 19-1 (5)|
|4/18||Waialua||Waipahu||Wail, 13-1 (5)|
|4/22||McKinley||Kahuku||McK, 13-3 (5)|