Gusman returns for Nanakuli’s third D-II title

After spending most of the week in the hospital, Ricky Gusman was discharged in time to return to the Nanakuli dugout to watch the Golden Hawks capture a third straight Division II state softball championship on Friday.

Gusman said he felt chest pains on Monday morning and went to the hospital later in the day. He was told he’d suffered a mild heart attack and was admitted to the Queen’s Medical Center and had three stents inserted to clear blockages.

“I have to change my habits, eat the right things and hopefully don’t get into too many games like this,” Gusman said after the Golden Hawks pulled out a dramatic 6-5 win over Aiea at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.

Gusman said he went straight to RWSS from the hospital and his return was an unexpected boost for the team prior to Nanakuli’s fourth straight appearance in the Division II final.

“I was excited for him to be here so he can see it instead of watching it from the hospital where he doesn’t really feel what we feel,” Nanakuli senior Emma Kawaiaea said. “Having him by our side is very heartwarming.”

Kawaiaea pitched the first four innings for the Golden Hawks and returned in relief in the seventh. She escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the inning and earned the win when Mahina Piilani scored on a wild pitch with two out in the bottom of the seventh.

Nanakuli led 3-0, fell behind 5-3 and tied the game on freshman Cheyenne Lute’s two-run single in the sixth inning.

Lute, who threw a one-hitter against top-seeded Pac-Five in the quarterfinals, was named the Division II tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

Kawaiaea, Keani Nahinu and Kanalei McCoy also made the all-tournament team for Nanakuli.

Aiea’s Vevesi Liilii went  3-for-4 with a home run and two doubles on Friday. Kayla Higuchi also went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs. Both made the all-tournament team along with pitcher Poamai Tuli.

Kamehameha-Hawaii’s Taylor-James Sullivan and Kekai Wong Yuen also made the all-tournament team.


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