Two teams, battling for playoff life, at opposite ends of the same cycle.
Kapolei knows Castle’s struggle well. Though the Lady Knights had a solid regular season, they entered Wednesday’s opening-round playoff game against Kapolei without their top pitcher, Mele Turner.
The Lady Knights stayed close, but couldn’t overcome four errors in a 4-2 loss, ending their season. The young squad with just two senior starters has plenty of promise for the 2020 season.
“This is a good bunch of girls coming back. Coaching them was enjoyable,” longtime Knights coach Jon Berinobis said.
The program has bounced back nicely since struggling in recent seasons to field eligible players. This group has played together since middle school, and even a playoff loss couldn’t deter their spirits. Berinobis was doused with ice water by his players after the game. He took it with a smile.
“They’re supposed to do that after we win, not after we lose,” he quipped. “This was a good season. They’re good to be around.”
Turner, who also missed Castle’s regular-season finale on Monday against Kailua, left a void. Berinobis said the senior ace has a groin injury, but at least one teammate said Turner left midway through practice two days earlier, according to another senior, starting third baseman Shayla Young.
“She wasn’t practicing hard again and two of our teammates told her,” said Young, who belted a home run in the loss to Kapolei. “Losing the game was shocking, kind of disappointing with some players that quit on us.”
Young’s candor was appreciated. Surprising. She and Turner were planning to play next season at Edmonds Community College (Wash.). Maybe Turner (6-3), who struck out 49 batters in 54 innings, was fatigued late in the season. Maybe not.
“I’m a person who is going to tell the truth,” she said. “We still can win as long as we’re a team.”
That was true enough, but the Knights couldn’t string enough hits together against Kapolei’s crafty pitcher, Jade Behic. Castle also committed four errors.
Sophomore Ashaiya Lopes was resilient, allowing three earned runs. She struck out one and walked only one.
Lopes pitched her best with runners on base; Kapolei stranded 10 baserunners. The ‘Canes batted 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position (.154) against Lopes, coming up empty with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh inning.
Coincidentally, it was Kapolei that missed its ace pitcher early in the season. Cira Bartolotti, who signed with Hawaii, surprised her team and did not play her senior season. The strong-armed right-hander was also missed at the plate, but the Hurricanes regrouped, and Behic stepped up on the mound.
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)|