STAR-BULLETIN ALL-STATE SOFTBALL
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Pearl City boasts position player of the year Marina Gusman-Brown, coach of the year Keoke Behic and pitcher of the year Corrie Nishikida.
The state champion Pearl City Chargers sweep the Star-Bulletin's top three awards
FOR Corrie Nishikida, the whirlwind of a championship season should've been savored to the last drop.
Instead, it whizzed by at breakneck speed, which is rather amusing for a pitcher who whiffed batters consistently with the best changeup in the state. Nishikida led Pearl City to the state softball championship and was named pitcher of the year in the Star-Bulletin's All-State selections today.
Joining Nishikida for top honors are teammate Marina Gusman-Brown and coach Keoke Behic. Gusman-Brown edged a handful of top-flight candidates for position player of the year honors, while Behic garnered the coach of the year award. The Chargers finished 16-3 and captured their first state title since 1992.
"It went by really, really fast. In the beginning it was slow, and at the end it went by super fast," Nishikida said. "Everybody said, 'Pearl City's favored this year,' but we couldn't think like that. We didn't want to get big-headed. We just played our game. When I pitched, I knew I had to do my role.
"It wasn't pressure. I just had to do my job."
Nishikida finished with an 11-1 mark, including all four of the Chargers' wins at the state tournament. Her statistics painted a picture of her dominance: 1.21 ERA, 75 strikeouts in 87 innings pitched with just 32 walks. She even batted .412 for good measure.
But what separated the wiry senior from other elite hurlers was her control. Nishikida's curve and occasional screwball kept batters guessing, but it was an improved fastball and an elusive changeup that made Nishikida a champion on the biggest stage.
In relief, she pitched four shutout innings with five strikeouts in Pearl City's state-tourney opener against Campbell. The next day, she allowed just one run and three hits for a complete-game win over Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion Kamehameha.
In the semifinals, she limited a hot-hitting Kapolei team to seven hits for a clutch win. The final pitted Nishikida in a pitchers' duel against Makani Duhaylonsod of Mililani. Nishikida permitted just five hits and fanned five as the Chargers won the title, 2-1.
In all, she had a 1.80 ERA in the state tourney, permitting only 17 hits in 24 innings.
"It was a dream season," Nishikida said. "We were all in a zone. We never played in a crowd like that before, with all this cheering going on."
"I was zoned in so I wouldn't let anyone bother me. Even though my hitting was junk, I blocked out everything so I could concentrate on my pitching."
Gusman-Brown saw her teammate's growth this season.
"She really stepped up her game this year. Her fastball improved to complement her other pitches. She had this mind-set," she said.
Gusman-Brown had her share of challenges in a season that didn't start out perfectly.
"I realized that this was my last season of high school softball, so every game I played especially for our seniors. Half of them I've known since seventh grade," she said.
"Corrie and I have been tight through the whole thing."
Her .469 on-base percentage allowed her to steal 14 bases in just 15 attempts. Many a time, teams called pitchouts while Gusman-Brown waited for the right moment.
"If we're the visitors, I hate coming from behind, so my plan was to score first no matter what," she said of her approach on the basepaths. "There are holes that I saw and they wouldn't fix it."
The state tourney was where Gusman-Brown was able to showcase her offensive skills most. She delivered a key home run, hit 2-for-3 and stole three bases against Campbell. The next night, she went 2-for-3 with a homer against Kamehameha.
Kapolei limited her to a base hit, one RBI and a run in the semifinal, but she stole three bases and scored both Pearl City runs in the title victory against Mililani.
Nobody in the state created as much turbulence as the fourth-year Charger.
"She was my biggest fear," first-team catcher Skye Virtudes of Mililani said. "If she gets on first, it's almost guaranteed she'll get second."
Gusman-Brown credited Behic for giving the Chargers the right jolt of power.
"He was behind us 100 percent. He prepared us to be ready physically, and the mental part was up to us," Gusman-Brown said.
Pearl City, senior
Pearl City, senior
Pearl City, senior
» Nicole Alconcel, Baldwin, Jr.
» Noe Esperas, Kamehameha, Sr.
» Sarah Robinson, Moanalua, So.
» Sanoe Kekahuna, Baldwin, Jr.
» Lauren Fujisaki, Pearl City, So.
» Casey Sugihara, Mililani, Sr.
» Dana Lee, Mililani, Sr.
» Vernadine Vickers, Nanakuli, Sr.
» Shaleese Javillo, Kamehameha, So.
» June Ann Lusk, Baldwin, Jr.
» Shanna Vierra, Pearl City, Sr.
» Michal Pane'e, Castle, Sr.
(Players listed in alphabetical order)
Brittney Akana, St. Francis; Krista Dumandan, Kailua; Genesis Freuan, Kaimuki; Jessica Ghazali, Pac-Five; Kirsty Imai, Waiakea; Leinna Kalua, Campbell; Breanne Patton, Campbell.
Noelle Hirahara, Pearl City; Shelby Nakachi, Moanalua; Ashley Smith, St. Francis; Brittany Tokunaga, Kailua.
Tiera Cuba, Mililani; Nanea Haasenritter, Hilo; Shannon Lum, St. Francis; Britni Ronolo, Moanalua.
Charina Sumner, Kamehameha; Le'a Tamura, Moanalua; Alana Tsue, Hilo; Alisha Vegas, Kailua.
Sasha Koki, St. Francisj; Kristine Mihara, Kamehameha-Hawaii; Dara Pagaduan, Kamehameha; Sam Palipti, Campbell; Jamie Ronolo, Moanalua; Tiana Vierra, Leilehua.
Sanoe Aina, Pearl City; Dayne Carvalho, Baldwinj; Reseene Choy, Pac-Five; Kimberly Goo, Mililani; Sydney Kaneshiro, Kailua; Sierra Gacayan, Kamehameha-Hawaii; Rayna Storm-Okimoto, Aiea; Aisha Sueda, Hilo; Kaui Tom, Kamehameha; Traci Yoshizawa, Moanalua.
Alyssa Bergado, Kamehameha; Harley Cockett, Hilo; Cheyna Farley, Castle; Nanea Chan, Kaiser; Tawni Glushenko, St. Francis; Amber Kamaka, Mililani; Kalei Labanon, Castle; Shauna Naki, Castle; Moki Opunui, Pearl City; Sheryl Robinol, Kapolei; Glennis Rodrigues, Moanalua; Robyn Santiago, Hilo; Kai Sarmiento, Baldwin; Jandee Taira, St. Francis; Danneen Williams, Kailua.
Ashley Hopfe, Kailua
Selections made by the Star-Bulletin after consulting with coaches statewide.