(Here’s the extended version of this morning’s game story on the OIA Red softball final between two outstanding teams: Mililani and Waianae.)
Justine Fabella drove in three runs and Mililani ace Aubree Kim struck out 13 as Mililani hung on to edge Waianae 9-7 on Saturday night for the OIA Red Conference softball championship.
It was the first league title for Mililani (12-3) since 2010, also under coach Rose Antonio.
“I feel great. We wanted to score every inning and win every inning, but that last inning, Waianae just came back,” she said. “The girls did very well. I’m very proud of them. It’s good to bring the championship back to Mililani.”
Kim prevailed on a wet, cool evening at Patsy Mink Central Oahu Regional Park.
“I was determined to finish,” said Kim, who used change-ups and hard breaking pitches to keep most of the Seariders off balance. “I’ve been in a lot of tough situations, and this was really tough. All I was thinking, my team had my back the whole game and no matter what, I had to have their back.”
Through six innings, she had a five-hitter going, and the Trojans led comfortably 9-3. The determined Seariders strung together five hits to start the ninth, and suddenly, Kim was on the ropes.
Lauren Taunu‘u broke through with a two-run double off the left-field fence to bring Waianae within four runs. After Nue Sivia followed with a double to right, scoring Taunu‘u, it was 9-6.
Pitcher Cranci Kamaka delivered a single up the middle to score Sivia, it was a two-run game.
Kim then struck out Bresia Wagner, and Randie Santiago was thrown out on a bunt attempt for the second out. Kim then whiffed Alyssa Salud-Mendoza to end the game.
She stymied the top half of Waianae’s lineup for the most part, while the lower half was content to take pitches and get on base any way possible.
“They were taking pitches so they could take away the change-up,” she said.
That lethal change-up helped her limit the top five hitters in Waianae’s lineup to 3-for-15 hitting until the final inning. In two previous starts against Waianae, Lee had a combined 21 strikeouts while permitting just one run in 14 innings. This time, the numbers weren’t quite so pretty. Antonio just needed her ace to finish the game. There wasn’t a Trojan to be seen warming up in the pen during that last, gut-wrenching inning.
A 13-hit attack provided the boost. Fabella was one of six Trojans to pair hits, socking a triple and double in addition to her three RBIs.
“She threw it right down the middle,” Fabella said. “I just want to hit the ball.”
The Seariders opened the game with a run in the top of the first off Kim. The first of Sivia’s three hits, a two-out triple to the right-field corner, brought Mahina Chong home.
Mililani’s exciting, high-risk, high-reward base running took command in the first two innings, along with nine hits in its first 15 plate appearances. The Trojans scored five times in the first frame, starting with a suicide squeeze play by Karly Macadangdang that brought Jade Yadao-Valdez home from third. Shannon Pascua-Stanton followed with a single to right, scoring Maya Yoshiura, and Tori-Anne Baysa’s sacrifice fly to right plated Macadangdang for the third run of the inning.
Fabella’s double to left brought Pascua-Stanton home, and Kylyn Sasaki capped it all with an infield single that scored Fabella for a 5-0 lead.
The onslaught resumed in the bottom of the second. Yoshiura’s double to left brought Yadao-Valdez home, and Fabella socked a triple to center, scoring Pascua-Stanton and Baysa for an 8-1 lead.
The Seariders used two walks off Kim to score twice in the top of the fourth. Wagner and Salud-Mendoza scored on Kalei Cacho-Kekahuna’s double to center, cutting the lead to 8-3.
The Trojans tacked on one more run in the bottom of the sixth. Yoshiura singled and scored on a two-out single to center by Baysa for a six-run cushion. The Seariders’ spunky, nearly successful rally in the seventh could give them a boost as they head into the state tournament.
“I’ve hit off of her before. I was just looking for something I could drive, but she was getting me with her change-up and rise ball,” Sivio said. “We were pushing. We knew we could overcome this, but we fell short. We’ll see what’s at states and hopefully, I know we can do good.”
Antonio knew Waianae would never cease battling.
“They can come back any time. By the deficit they came back on last night (against Moanalua in the semifinal round), no lead is enough,” she said.
Waianae (11-4) 100 200 4 — 7 10 2
Mililani (12-3) 530 001 x — 9 13 0
Cranci Kamaka and Bresia Wagner. Aubree Kim and Markie Okamoto. W—Kim. L—Kamaka.
Leading hitters—Waianae: Mahina Chong 2-4, double, 2 runs; Nue Sivia 3-4, triple, double, 2 RBI. Mililani: Jade Yadao-Valdez 2-4, 2 runs; Maya Yoshiura 2-3, double, RBI, run; Shannon Pascua-Stanton 2-3, 2 runs; Tori-Anne Baysa 2-3, 2 RBIs; Justin Fabella 2-4, triple, double, 3 RBIs; Kylyn Sasaki 2-3.