Perhaps the only surprise awaiting in the Division I state softball championship would be if the season’s fourth meeting between Campbell and Mililani isn’t decided in the late innings.
There won’t be many secrets between the Sabers and Trojans when they meet in the final of the DataHouse/HHSAA State Softball Championship on Friday at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
The Division I final, scheduled for 7 p.m. will be preceded by the Division II championship game between Waimea and defending champion Nanakuli at 5.
Mililani and Campbell split their regular-season matchups and Mililani scraped out a 1-0 win in the semifinals of the OIA Red tournament on its way to claiming the league title.
The way both teams’ sophomore pitchers have been throwing in the state tournament, another tight duel is anticipated for the championship.
“We know each other and it’s going to be a close game (Friday),” Mililani coach Rose Antonio said after the Trojans’ 9-1 semifinal win over Mid-Pacific.
“They know what we do, we kind of know what they do. It’s just about making the adjustments and mixing it up tomorrow.”
Mililani last appeared in the state final when the Trojans won the 2009 title led by Courtney Senas. Campbell claimed the championship in 2010 behind the pitching and hitting of Katie Manuma.
Both teams are expected to start workhorse sophomores in Friday’s title game.
Campbell’s Elisa Favela has three efficient wins in the state tournament. She’s allowed just two hits in each of her complete-game performances and enters the final with a run of 14 consecutive scoreless innings. She had 19 strikeouts against one walk over her 20 innings and took a perfect game into the sixth inning against Leilehua on Thursday before giving up two singles in the 10-0 win.
Mililani ace Aubree Kim has allowed just one hit and has yet to surrender an earned run in her two tournament victories, though she’s pitched with runners on base quite a bit more than Favela.
Kim walked eight batters against Maryknoll on Wednesday and 11 against Mid-Pacific on Thursday, but balanced her ratio with 22 strikeouts.
She appeared to have trouble getting loose early in Thursday’s game, frequently shaking her arm between pitches while walking six batters in the first two innings. But she allowed just one run and settled down to retire 12 consecutive batters before working around five walks in the final two innings.
“It’s more sore than usual, but I’ll fight through it,” Kim said.
“I’m so thankful for my team, they knew I was having a hard time, but they had my back the whole time.”
The teams both have dynamic leadoff hitters in UNLV-bound Mililani senior Jade Yadao-Valdez and Campbell sophomore Cydney Curran. Curran went 4-for-4 with a double on Thursday. Yadao-Valdez usually sparks the Trojans by slapping pitches on the ground and blazing to first. On Thursday she popped one over the fence for her first home run of the season.
“I thought it was going to hit the fence and it went over and I was so shocked,” Yadao-Valdez said. “Usually I sprint around the bases, but having a nice jog was nice too.”
Kylyn Sasaki, who delivered the game-winning hit against Maryknoll on Wednesday also homered in the third inning to give the Trojans the lead.
Favela and Nashlynn Anguay have five RBIs in the tournament in the middle of the Campbell order.
“Even before we faced them the first time, I already knew Campbell is super good,” Kim said. “We just have to be ready and hope that we’re on tomorrow.”