They were the Terrific Ten, this team in green and black.
The Konawaena Wildcats faced adversity this spring. A small, young roster. A team without a head coach, who resigned before the playoffs. So athletic director Kellye Krug became interim coach, and the Wildcats battled through. They finished second in the BIIF to Kamehameha-Hawaii, a team that reached the Division II state final with a win over Kalani today.
Konawaena? The Ten That Could had powerhouse St. Francis on the ropes early and late. The Saints rallied with five runs in the last two innings for an 8-7 win, but don’t expect Konawaena to wallow with broken hearts. After all, they knocked out OIA runner-up Aiea and No. 1 seed Kapaa. If St. Francis is one of the best teams in the state — 7-3 against Top 10 teams — Konawaena is right there, at least in potential.
“I feel disappointed and bad for the girls. They worked so hard, but I’m proud of them, too. They showed what they’re made of,” Krug said. “It’s hard to be put in a spot, but you fight your battles, walk into a stadium as underdogs. They know they belong here.”
Four of the 10 Wildcats will graduate this June. Konawaena (15-9) did not field a junior-varsity team this spring, but Krug is confident the program will build on this season’s success. So are ace pitcher Shaylann Grace, a sophomore, and freshman catcher Jayla Medeiros — cousins. Grace pitched there games in three days and almost got her team to the final. She socked a two-run homer in the first inning. Medeiros blasted a solo homer in that same frame, and then launched a two-run tater of her own in the third. The future is bright, but only if the program can fill in those slots left empty by the departing seniors.
BOOM BOOM. The Saints wisely walk Grace, but Medeiros makes them pay. She takes aim at a 3-2 pitch and socks a two-run homer to left. Her second HR opens the lead to four runs. KONAWAENA 5, ST. FRANCIS 1. @HawaiiPrepWorld @KonawaenaSports @SaintFrancisHNL @HHSAAsports pic.twitter.com/42Wknk8KFF
— Paul Honda (@PupulePaul) May 11, 2018
“I wasn’t expecting to get those two home runs off her,” Medeiros said of St. Francis ace Sierrah Kupihea. “But St. Francis is a good hitting team.”
“My hat’s off to them,” Grace added. “They played an amazing game.”
Grace and Medeiros play in the offseason with Gold Coast Little League. They’re looking to build off this season’s momentum.
“There’s a lot of shoes that have to be filled. We don’t have a younger team,” Grace noted.
“We’ve just got to start from square one like we did this season. We went through some rough patches, but look at where we are now,” Medeiros added.
Most of their club teammates attend Kealakehe, but what the Wildcats just need is to have the minimum of nine players. More would be a luxury.
“I think we just need people to realize the fun and drive to play softball,” Medeiros said. “Look at what we can accomplish.”