Lindsay Fujita scored the winning run from first base.

Buffanblu sprint
into playoff

By Nick Abramo

Two dominant pitchers offset each other for five scoreless innings yesterday until the Punahou softball team artfully pushed ahead with bravado on the basepaths.

The visiting Buffanblu used a two-run sixth inning to defeat defending state champion Kamehameha 2-0 in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu regular-season finale. The victory left both teams at 14-2 and forced a playoff for the league title tomorrow at 3:45 p.m. at Mid-Pacific Institute. Both teams have qualified for a spot in the upcoming state tournament.

"It's two quality teams going against each other again on Wednesday," Punahou coach Kristl Okuhara-Chinen said. "As great as this win was, we have to put it past us, move forward and find out just how good a team we are."

Buffanblu pitcher Sarah Weisskopf shut down the powerful Kamehameha bats and finished with a two-hitter. Kate Robinson of the Warriors was nearly as effective, yielding four hits.

But the game came down to running, not pitching.

In the top of the sixth, Punahou's Lindsay Fujita drilled a single to right and then sprinted around the bases when Kamehameha third baseman Laua'e Chang threw wild to first on Shanna Dacanay's bunt.

When Fujita approached third, Okuhara-Chinen sent her home and Fujita slid under the relay throw just in time to break the scoreless tie.

"I ran with all my might and as fast as my legs would take me," Fujita said. "I knew it was going to be close. The ball came to the inside and I slid to the outside. She (Warriors catcher Kaulana Gould) didn't touch me and I felt so good."

Dacanay moved to third on the play and made it 2-0 on Gail Matsushima's blooper to left over a drawn-in Kamehameha infield.

"We went for it," Okuhara-Chinen said, referring to Fujita's game-winning run. "We had nothing to lose. Sometimes you have to take risks; you have to risk losing to win.

"We let it all out. We went at them (the Warriors) and competed. And Sarah (Weisskopf) was unbelievable."

Kamehameha stranded Sharee Fonoti on third base in the second inning and left Napua Naumu on second in the sixth.

"The errors were kind of costly," Warriors coach Ty Sing Chow said. "Those mistakes came on things we do and work on routinely every day. That's how the game goes. Punahou put the pressure on us and Sarah pitched very well. They're a fine team and they showed it.

"Our girls are down, but they'll come back."

Dacanay was smooth at shortstop for the Buffanblu. She twice went to the hole to throw out runners. She also came close to turning Weisskopf's performance into a one-hitter, going way into the hole to get a Robinson grounder, but her throw was a bit late.

Punahou first baseman Cristen Aona stamped out the Warriors' last threat in the bottom of the seventh. After dropping an infield throw that allowed Kamehameha's Nicole Kalakau to reach first, she picked off Kalakau with a strike to Dacanay at second.

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