Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, January 29, 2002


State title goes to the team
that chases top pitchers


By Tim Crouse

Baldwin High School won last year's state softball championship on the dominant arm of ace pitcher Shannon Tabion, who is now playing at the University of Hawaii.

Several teams this season have pitchers capable of carrying them through the Chevron State Softball Championship Tournament, which starts tomorrow and runs through Saturday at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.

Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion Kamehameha (14-0) blitzed through league play behind the stellar pitching of senior Leo Sing Chow. The Warriors, which lost 1-0 to the Bears in last season's title game, are the top seed this week.

Sing Chow was 10-0 in the ILH and gave up just two earned runs in nearly 75 innings. She threw a no-hitter against Iolani earlier this month and followed that up three days later with a one-hitter against University.

Besides having the state's most dominating pitcher, the Warriors also have a potent, balanced offense that gets production anywhere in the lineup. Sophomore outfielder Brandi Peiler, senior shortstop Ashley Ruff and senior center fielder Gina Cummings have all made big offensive contributions this season.

Four-time Oahu Interscholastic Association champion Mililani (13-0) is the second seed, followed by Maui (11-6), which upset Baldwin 6-5 yesterday to claim the Maui Interscholastic League crown, and Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion Waiakea (10-0).

Mililani has two outstanding pitchers, giving coach Mike Okimoto a lot of flexibility. Senior Johnna Rowland carried Mililani through most of the OIA regular season, posting a 7-0 record. Junior Miki Asamura, 2-0 in the regular season, pitched 16 innings during the OIA tournament to earn two wins. She has not allowed a run this season.

But according to Okimoto, the key to making it to the state title game will be hitting.

"We've got to hit the ball better," Okimoto said. "You wish every batter could get a basehit, but as long as you put the ball in play, you have a chance. You have to put pressure on (the defense)."

Despite the fact that senior Karyna Wilkerson has struggled at the plate at times this year, Okimoto will stick with her in the leadoff spot.

"In the (OIA) playoffs she hit a little better. Her timing and stroke is getting better, she's hitting the ball harder," Okimoto said. "Hopefully she's peaking now. If you get your lead-off on, you have a chance to score."

BJ Shimamoto, a junior outfielder, is the fastest player on the team and hits behind Wilkerson. Okimoto also looks for sophomore catcher Erika Au and sophomore shortstop Charity Senas to provide timely hitting for the Trojans.

Iolani (12-2 ILH) and Castle (12-1 OIA), who finished second in their respective leagues, also have dominant pitchers. The Raiders, who won the state crown in 1999 and 2000, will look to senior Ianeta Lei to carry them. Lei took the loss against Baldwin in last year's state tournament semifinals despite throwing a no-hitter. This season, her only two losses were to Kamehameha.

The Knights, who made it to the OIA championship game, are led by sophomore Lia Pedrina, who was unbeaten in the regular season.

Senior pitcher Myra Amisone is the ace for Waiakea, but first-year coach Jasmine Urasaki said she won't hesitate to use two other pitchers -- sophomore Elise DuPonte and junior Chelsea Rice -- if the need arises.

Notes: The championship game on Saturday will be broadcast live on 650-AM. ... The stadium gates open approximately 30 minutes prior to the first game each day. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students (K-12). UH lower campus parking is available for $3. ... The ILH has won three of the last four state titles. From 1980 to 1997, the OIA claimed 12 state crowns, with Kailua winning nine.


At Rainbow Wahine
Softball Stadium


Game 1 -- Kealakehe vs. Leilehua, 1 p.m.
Game 2 -- Waimea vs. Kaimuki, 3 p.m.
Game 3 -- Castle vs. Baldwin, 5 p.m.
Game 4 -- Iolani vs. Kailua, 7 p.m.


Game 5 -- Losers of Games 2 & 3, noon


Game 6 -- Waiakea vs. Winner Game 3, 2 p.m.
Game 7 -- Mililani vs. Winner Game 1, 4 p.m.
Game 8 -- Maui vs. Winner Game 4, 6 p.m.
Game 9 -- Kamehameha vs. Winner Game 2, 8 p.m.Friday


Game 10 -- Losers Games 1 & 4, Noon
Game 11 -- Losers Games 9 & 6, 2 p.m.
Game 12 -- Losers Games 7 & 8, 4 p.m.


Game 13 -- Winners Games 6 & 9, 6 p.m.
Game 14 -- Winners Games 7 & 8, 8 p.m.


Game 15 -- Seventh place, Winners Games 5 & 10, 1 p.m.
Game 16 -- Fifth place, Winners Games 11 & 12, 3 p.m.
Game 17 -- Third place, Losers Games 13 & 14, 5 p.m.
Game 18 -- Championship, Winners Games 13 &14, 7 p.m.

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