OIA Softball
No. 2 Hurricanes batter No. 1 Trojans for OIA D1 softball title


Sat, Apr 30, 2022 @ [ 7:00 pm ]

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Kapolei 2 000300570
Mililani 0 0 00000035

W: Jerzie Liana    L: Ashley Ogata

MIL: Kolbi Kochi 1-3; Ashley Ogata 4.2 IP 2 ER 4 K
KAP: Moani Ioane 2-4 run 3 rbi HR; Jerzie Liana 7.0 IP 0 ER 5 K

MANOA - Rain was the perfect weather for the Hurricanes that struck Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium Saturday night.

Pitcher Jerzie Liana fired a three-hitter and Moani Ioane drove in three runs and No. 2 Kapolei beat No. 1 Mililani, 5-0, for the Hurricanes' first Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I softball title since 2016. With the school's fourth overall crown, the Hurricanes (11-2) earned a seeded berth to the state tournament set for May 9-12 at RWSS.

The Trojans (11-2), who won the West by one game, had their 11-game win streak snapped by their division rivals. Their only losses were to Kapolei; the other came in the regular-season opener.

The night belonged to Liana. She had the Trojans off-balanced, allowing three singles and no walks with five strikeouts. The right-handed junior did not allow more than one base runner in any inning. A Trojan runner never reached second base safely until the bottom of the seventh when Jackie Kirkpatrick singled and took second when Kaui Garcia grounded out to second. She was that dominant.

"She's been pitching good for us all season long," said Kapolei interim coach Enson Queypo. "She's been our workhorse. I told her before we started that we were going to ride her all the way. And it seemed like she got stronger and stronger and stronger through the tournament. To me, she's the best pitcher in the state."

Queypo has been the interim coach since the fourth game of the season. He is filling in for Keoke Behic, whom Queypo said is on a personal leave.

The key Liana said was her ability to get tight spins on her pitches. Those tight spins weren't there in the season-opening 10-8 win against the Trojans.

"In the beginning, my spin wasn't there," she explained. "Today, I was really hitting my spots and all my pitches were working."

Most of Liana's run support came from left fielder Ioane, who batted 2 for 4 with three RBIs, including a booming two-run home run to left-center to pad the Hurricanes' lead in the fifth.

Unlike her counterpart, Trojans' starting pitcher Ashley Ogata did not have quite the support. She lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing five runs, but only two earned, as there were five errors committed behind her in being saddled with the loss. Dani Monroe pitched the final 1 1/3 hitless innings.

Liana aided her own cause as the lead-off hitter for the Hurricanes. She opened the top of the first with a bloop single over the pitching circle that shortstop Mackenzie Kila could not get there in time because she was positioned at the edge of the dirt infield. Puakea Milbourne followed with a sharply hit grounder to Kila, whose low throw to second for the attempted force play put runners at first and second. Ioane then grounded a single to left, scoring Liana easily. But left fielder Rayna White's errant throw to the infield allowed Milbourne to score on the play. Meanwhile, Ioane was caught in a rundown between second and third. After Cheylene Valdez-Asato grounded out, Maka Flores reached on Kila's throwing error and stole second, but was stranded there when Chenoa Cainglit flied out to center, but Kapolei took a 2-0 lead before Liana threw a pitch.

Ogata settled down, even escaping a two-out bases-loaded jam in the second. But her defense failed her again in the Hurricanes' three-run fifth that sealed the game. Melbourne led off by reaching on third baseman Garcia's fielding error. Ioane then hammered her seventh home run of the season and fourth in her past four games to make it 4-0.

"My pop (Pati Ioane) was my big inspiration," Ioane said of her late father. "I want to do better for him everyday. He passed in 2014 so I was just starting to get into softball. He used to play softball and I felt I needed to carry that on."

An out later, Maka Flores singled, took second on Cainglit's sacrifice and scored on Alewa Ena's double to left to chase Ogata from the circle. Monroe struck out the first batter she faced to end the inning.

Ioane's homer tied her for the Division I state lead with Mililani's Kila and Maryknoll's Carys Murakami.

"Moani, she's so tough," Queypo said. "That girl, she has strength. When she hits the ball in the right place, there's no park that can hold her."

The West continues to dominate softball. This was the 11th consecutive OIA championship won by a West team. During that span, eight of those were all-West finals.

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at [email protected].

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