Pearl City softball team gives coach's singing performance 5 stars
When Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive director Keith Amemiya agreed to allow Keoke Behic to sing the national anthem before the final of the Division I state softball championships, he didn't think twice.
Then he realized that he didn't even require an audition by the Pearl City coach. The game, televised live last Saturday, had the potential to be overwhelmed by a notorious performance by Behic.
Amemiya breathed a sigh of relief when Behic sailed through the anthem and "Hawaii Pono'i" with flying colors.
Behic's players, who went on to win the state title, weren't surprised.
"That was five stars out of five," senior Marina Gusman-Brown said. "He was stressing a little, but he's the next American Idol."
Behic's leadership required clear roles for his players.
"That's been the biggest thing: everybody filling their roles. Our depth helped us tremendously," he said.
Trojan, Vulcans connect:
Hawaii-Hilo softball coach Callen Perreira
never fails to scour the islands for talent.
This year is no exception. Already stocked with players such as Leo Sing Chow (Kamehameha '03), Perreira has signed Mililani standout Dana Lee.
Lee excelled at a variety of positions for the Trojans, including pitcher, third base and first base.
Kamehameha-Hawaii is loaded with softball talent, perhaps none more versatile or promising than junior Kozy Toriano
The Pahala native commutes 40 miles each way to Keaau daily, but that doesn't seem to sap her energy. Toriano grew up playing baseball -- there is no youth softball program in Ka'u -- and is excellent at shortstop. However, because the Warriors need her behind the plate, she was their catcher all season.
Toriano also plays the outfield, giving her the versatility to be a valuable contributor at both the high school and college levels.
The matchup of Mililani and Pearl City in the softball final brought old friends together.
Pearl City's Gusman-Brown and Mililani's Chasity Senas exchanged leis during the postgame celebration. So did Chargers outfielder Janelle Tamura and Trojans infielder Alyssa Dumlao.
"She's my best friend," Tamura said.
"Even Jaimee Aiwohi, we grew up together and played for the Pearl City Sharks. And C.J. (Celina) Garces, too."
The rivalry between the two successful programs is undeniable.
"It's fun, and it gets intense," Tamura added.
"On the field, we play against each other, but off the field, we're friends."
Athletes of the week
Yusuke Kobayashi, Kaiser swimming: Won the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly at the OIA East championships. Also swam on the 200 freestyle relay title team.
Corrie Nishikida, Pearl City softball: Pitched the Chargers to victory in all four state tournament games en route to the Division I title. In 24 innings, she allowed five runs and 19 hits. Her wins came against Campbell, top-seeded Kamehameha and Kapolei before her five-hitter in the final against Mililani.
Okesene Ale Jr., Kahuku: Scored 26 points to lead the Red Raiders over Moanalua. Scored 26 points against Roosevelt.
Bao Jun Lei, Moanalua: Scored 22 points, including five treys, against Kahuku.
Lolomana Mikaele, Damien: Scored 24 points, including three 3-pointers, against Saint Louis.
Ken Moses, Mililani: Scored 23 points, including a winning free throw with 4 seconds left, against Waipahu.
Jordan Ranche, Word of Life: Scored 46 points in a win over Academy of the Pacific.
Tajia Acierto, Kapolei: Fanned 13 batters in a win over Hilo.
Makani Duhaylonsod, Mililani: Won two games at the Division I state tourney, including a four-hit shutout of Moanalua.
Lauren Fujisaki, Pearl City: Went 3-for-3 with a double in the Division I state title win over Mililani.
Jennifer Ghazali, Pac-Five: Homered in a win over Waipahu and struck out eight on the mound. Struck out 12 in a win over Aiea, and then had a one-hitter in the Division II state title victory over Sacred Hearts.
Kylie Gonsalves, Kohala: Went 3-for-3 with four runs scored against Waipahu.
Marina Gusman-Brown, Pearl City: Went 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored against Campbell. Homered in a 2-1 win over top-seeded Kamehameha. Stole three bases and scored both runs in the state title win over Mililani.
Chelsea Kamai, Sacred Hearts: Went 4-for-4 in a win over Kamehameha-Hawaii.
Sanoe Kekahuna, Baldwin: Went 3-for-4 with a home run against Mililani.
Kelsey Nobriga, King Kekaulike: Had two hits, including a homer, in a win over Molokai.
Krissaundra Noga, Waipahu: Went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and four RBIs in a win over Kohala.
Kanani Numata, Pearl City: Went 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the state tourney final victory over Mililani.
Sina Nu'u, Waipahu: Went 3-for-6, including a home run, with three RBIs and five runs scored in a win over Kohala.
Sarah Robinson, Moanalua: Fired a three-hit shutout against Waiakea and a four-hit shutout against Kailua.
Ashley Smith, St. Francis: Went 3-for-4 with two RBIs against Waiakea.
Ka'ili Smith, Kapolei: Went 3-for-3 with a three-run homer in a win over Hilo.
Kozy Toriano, Kamehameha-Hawaii: Went 3-for-4 with two RBIs in a win over Kalaheo.
Lei Cheung, McKinley: Won the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle at the OIA East championships.
Kalen Darling, Moanalua: Won the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle at the OIA East meet.
Jessica Yee, McKinley: Won the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly at the OIA East championships.
To nominate ...
To nominate an athlete of the week, contact the Star-Bulletin Sports Department by 11 p.m. Sunday: