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POSTED: Wednesday, March 18, 2009

With Courtney Senas at shortstop and Kristi Oshiro at second the past two seasons, Millani has won two Oahu Interscholastic League softball crowns and finished second in the state twice.

They've helped the Trojans start 2009 in style, with an 18-0 rout of Waipahu in their season opener last week as Senas went 5-for-5 with a double and a triple and Oshiro added two hits.

“;They can do it all,”; Mililani head coach Rose Antonio said. “;Defensively, they make all the plays for us. They are so athletic they can get to just about anything. Offensively, with Kristi at lead off and Courtney batting third, they are a real big part of our lineup and get us going with their bats.”;

Last season, Senas batted .478, leading the Trojans in runs (33), homers (5) and RBIs (40) to earn Star-Bulletin All-State position player of the year honors. She was especially hot during Mililani's postseason run, batting .533 with 11 RBIs in 15 playoff contests. Senas also earned OIA West player of the year honors as a freshman in 2007 after posting a .540 batting average.

“;You look at Courtney and she is obviously so talented,”; Oshiro said. “;People would never guess that she is so great to play with. She is really humble and hard working and she is soft hearted and cares about everyone. She really brings out the best in all of us. She keeps us all loose and picks us up when we need it.”;

The speedy Oshiro has sparked Mililani's diverse attack from her lead-off spot in the order for the past two seasons. The left-handed hitter stepped into the Trojans' lineup as a freshman in 2007 and posted a team-high .556 on-base percentage and batted .440 to fill the void left by departed all-stater Casey Sugihara, now a standout infielder at Hawaii Pacific. Oshiro returned last season to hit .437 with a .535 on-base percentage, and came up big in Mililani's OIA championship clincher against Campbell, leading off the bottom of the first with a solo homer in a 4-3 win.

“;Kristi brings her game every day,”; Senas said. “;She always gets on base, catches everything I throw at her, and she is really athletic and strong for her size. People wouldn't think it, but she can hit the ball out of the park. We can all take the game too serious at times, but we keep each other loose. We have a lot of fun out here together.”;

Senas is the latest in Mililani's long line of softball playing sisters. Ciera (Hawaii Pacific), Chasity (Chaminade) and Chanelle (Eastern Arizona) all starred at Mililani and continued playing in college. Courtney Senas is considered a solid college prospect, too.

“;She's the strongest, most athletically talented of the bunch, and that's saying a lot,”; said Antonio, a former University of Hawaii outfielder. “;That's a very talented family, including her cousin Charity (Hawaii-Hilo), and she has a chance to be the best of them.”;

Bat speed and hand-eye coordination aren't the only family traits Courtney picked up.

“;Her work ethic is great — like all the Senas girls,”; Antonio said. “;They are all good girls with good hearts. The past couple years have not been easy for her with her father being ill. I don't know how she does it, but when she's on the field nothing seems to faze her.”;

Chad Senas continues his battle with cancer, and serves as an inspiration to his daughter.

“;I would really like to play softball in college, somewhere that's a perfect fit for me,”; Senas said. “;I'd like to find a school where I can play a lot and get a good education. Somewhere I know the coaches will take care of me. But I need to be somewhere not too far from Hawaii, so I can fly home to see my dad. It gets real hard sometimes, but I just pray a lot because he means so much to me.”;

Oshiro has spent her entire playing career with her own personal coach, her father, Guy Oshiro. A career .339 hitter during his days as a standout infielder for the Hawaii-Hilo baseball team, the former Vulcan all-district pick still ranks among school leaders in a number of statistical categories.

“;He's been my coach ever since I started playing baseball and he's been coaching with our high school team the last couple years,”; Kristi Oshiro said. “;It can be hard playing for your dad, but I think I'm starting to understand why he's hard on me, because he wants the best for me. He's been there and done that, and I know now that he wants me to learn from his experience and his mistakes. I know a lot of people don't have someone like that in their lives, and I love him so much for that.”;

In addition to their offensive prowess, Senas and Oshiro also provide the Trojans with the most athletic and seasoned middle infield in the state. The sure-handed, fleet-footed duo anchor a veteran Mililani infield that also returns slick fielding all-state third baseman Celina Garces and second-team all-state catcher Rebecca Lee. Fellow all-state pick Jaimee Aiwohi is Mililani's mainstay in the outfield.

“;We know we are a different kind of team this season,”; Antonio said. “;With the loss of Makani (Duhaylonsod) who was our horse the past four years, and Glenelle (Nitta) out with an ankle injury, we really are counting on our team defense to carry us. It is really nice to have Courtney and Kristi up the middle. I think they both have the ability to play at the Division I level.”;