DIVISION II STATE SOFTBALL
Kauai playing for keeps this time
The goals have changed for Kauai.
Last year, just getting to the state championship was an accomplishment to savor for the Red Raiders.
Kauai lost to Sacred Hearts in that game and has been aiming for another shot at the title ever since. The Red Raiders will get that opportunity today when they face Pac-Five in the final of the DataHouse/HHSAA Division II State Softball Championship at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
"Last year we weren't expected to go as far as we did and everything was a plus," Kauai coach Darrell Borrero said. "We were overwhelmed being in the championship game, pretty much satisfied just being there.
"This year, a lot of the juniors and seniors, they had that bitter taste in their mouth. When we started in November they had one goal, to come back to the big show, and show we belong there and win it."
Top-seeded Kauai returned to the final with a 6-2 semifinal win over Lanai and enters today's 5 p.m. meeting looking to claim a crown the Interscholastic League of Honolulu has owned since the Division II tournament was established in 2004.
Pac-Five earned a shot at becoming the tournament's first two-time winner, and ended thoughts of an all-Kauai final, with an 11-0 victory over Kapaa in yesterday's second semifinal. All eight juniors and seniors on the Wolfpack roster were part of their 2006 state championship team.
"Confidence has a lot to do with sports. The girls are playing really well right now and they know they've been there before and won it," said Pac-Five coach Randy Oyama, who will go for his third D-II title, having led University High to the inaugural championship.
"I've been told (Kauai is) like a D-I caliber team. They have pitching and they hit the ball. They're going to be tough and we have to be at our best."
Kauai shortstop Jessica Iwata, an all-tournament selection last year, went 2-for-3 with a double and a triple and drove in three runs against Lanai. She enters the final with six RBIs in two tournament games, with all four of her hits going for extra bases.
Pitcher Wailana Borrero, the daughter of the coach, started last year's championship game and picked up her second win of this week's tournament with a 10-strikeout performance against the Pine Lasses.
"I pretty much leave her alone out there," Borrero said. "I've been her coach all her life and she knows what she has to do out there and she knows what's expected of her."
Wailana Borrero and Krystal Ijima; Kaila Daniels and Nani Zablan. W--Borrero. L--Daniels.
Leading hitters--Kauai: Ijima, 2B, 2 RBIs; Jessica Iwata, 2-2, 2B, 3B, 3 RBIs. Lanai: Jamie Ayudan, 2B; Deidra Donato, 2-3, RBI.
Pac-Five 11, Kapaa 0
Leeann Lariosa and Sheridan Mahelona combined on a four-hit shutout and the Wolfpack showed off their speed and power offensively in a rout of the Warriors.
Lariosa and Joedee Lovell hit solo homers for the Wolfpack, who broke the game open with a six-run second inning. The Wolfpack sparked the rally on the basepaths with four stolen bases and got and RBI double from Keline Yoshimura. Chante Tesoro, Tatum Tokuda and Samantha Ford delivered RBI singles in the inning.
"We have a theory -- we try to put a lot of pressure on the defense constantly and something will break," Oyama said.
Leeann Lariosa, Sheridan Mahelona (5) and Britney Hagihara; Melina Obar, Hanalei Gomes (7) and Gomes, Kori Kimura (7). W-- Lariosa. L--Obar.
Leading hitters--Pac-Five: Chante Tesoro, 2-5, RBI; Tatum Tokuda, 2 RBIs; Lariosa, 2-5, HR, 2 RBIs; Keline Yoshimura, 2-3, 2B, RBI; Joedee Lovell, 2-3, HR; Hagihara, 2-4. Kapaa: Leeana Baltazar, 2B; Leilani Laranio, 2-2, 2B.