Late deadline and limited space for the Punahou-Mililani semifinal game last night at the Data House/HHSAA Division I State Softball Championships.
Here’s the longer version of Punahou’s win.
Punahou 8, Mililani 2
In the nightcap, pitcher Jasmine Ioane belted two home runs in the first two innings as the Buffanblu overpowered the defending state champions.
Ioane was stellar on the mound, throwing a three-hitter and permitting two unearned runs in the sixth inning. She struck out seven and walked one, and used an array of pitches — fastballs, change-ups, screwballs and drops — to limit most of Mililani’s lineup.
Kristi Oshiro, Courtney Senas and Andi Felise combined to hit 1-for-10 against her.
“They’re the defending champions. We had nothing to lose,” Ioane said of Mililani. “We came out balls out.”
With a 2-for-2, two-homer, five-RBI, two-run effort at the plate, Ioane also provided the best single-game individiual offensive performance of the tourney so far.
“I was just looking for base hits,” she said. “I didn’t know it was going over.”
Punahou (14-3), runner-up from the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, has a shot at its first softball state title tonight against Campbell. Third baseman Mysha Sataraka was 2-for-5 with two RBIs and anchored a steady Buffanblu defense.
“Just making it this game is unbelievable. We word so hard. We got drilled every day,” she said. “Practices on Saturdays in the middle of the day when it’s the hottest time. Our coaches were never satisfied. They want better.”
The Buffanblu, under coach Bob Makahilahila, have played the most balanced, consistent softball in the tourney.
“All the other teams (at Punahou) have a legacy and tradition,” he said. “We want to enjoy this and experience this.”
After Sataraka drilled a triple to score teammate Reina Furuya, Ioane clubbed a towering 3-run shot over the left-field fence off Mililani starting pitcher Tiari-Jay Fernandez to give the Buffanblu a 4-0 lead.
An inning later, Jaci Young singled and came home on a single to center by Sataraka. Ioane then socked a drive over the right-center field fence and Punahou led 7-0.
Punahou added a single run in the fifth when Sarah Hiramatsu walked, and Hilary Nakaya singled to right. The throw to third base was off-target, allowing Hiramitsu to score.
Ioane was a powerhouse on the mound for the third night in a row. The senior retired the first 10 batters she faced.
Mililani loaded the bases in the fifth inning, but Ioane induced Kristi Oshiro into a groundout to second, where Furuya made a diving stop and a clean throw to end the inning.
“Kristi hit that shot in the hole and Reina made that unbelievable stop,” Makahilahila said.
The Trojans kept battling and finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth thanks to Punahou miscues. Courtney Lee singled, went to third on an infield error and scored on a wild pitch by Ioane. Courtney Senas, who reached base earlier on the error, came in to score on another wild pitch.
“You knew Mililani was coming back,” Makahilahila said.
With one out, courtesy runner Sierra took off from second base to third when Ioane unleashed a pitch that sailed to the backstop. However, the catcher, Shimoda, gathered the ball cleanly and threw out Mendiola.
Mililani rallied with a run-scoring single in the seventh by Lee, but Ioane retired Senas on a pop-up to end the contest.
“We are super grateful even to make it to this position,” Sataraka said. “We want to prove to all the people who doubted us that we can be the best team in the state. The only people who believed in us were our coaches and parents.”
The Buffanblu began playing at a higher level after a midseason loss to Pac-Five.
“After that game, our team realized that you have to play 100 percent all the time,” Makahilahila said. “They play one game at a time.”
Punahou (14-3) 430 010 0 — 8 9 2
Mililani (13-4) 000 002 1 — 3 6 2
Jasmine Ioane and Kayla Shimoda. Tiari-Jay Fernandez, Alysia Maddison (2) and Rebecca Lee. W—Ioane. L—Fernandez.
Leading hitters—Punahou: Mysha Sataraka 2-5, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Ioane 2-2, 5 RBIs, 2 runs; Campbell: Lee 3-4, RBI, run.