High School Beat

Kamehameha out to
defend ILH softball title

Defending Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion and state runner-up Kamehameha is loaded with future college softball talent this year.

Five starters have signed letters of intent -- shortstop Sharee Fonoti with Utah, outfielder Emi Snow with Brigham Young, catcher Kaulana Gould with Hawaii and pitcher Brandi Peiler and first baseman Nicole Kalakau with Hawaii Pacific.

In addition, pitcher Kate Robinson will make her decision later this year. Hawaii and various mainland schools are interested.

"Experience-wise, we're looking real good on paper," coach Ty Sing Chow said. "As far as putting our game on the field, we've still got things to hash out and fine-tune, and it's going to take a while."

The ILH season started last week, but the first big test is today as the Warriors visit Punahou at 3:45 p.m.

Sing Chow said one of the team's problems is something most coaches would love to have as a problem: three top-notch pitchers.

Robinson and Peiler look to get most of the work, but sophomore Noe Esperas represents Kamehameha's pitching future.

Junior second baseman Liane Horiuchi, who has drawn some interest from UH even though she has two full seasons of high school to play, is back as the team's lead-off hitter.

Sing Chow sees Punahou and Iolani as the main threats to the Warriors' ILH title. He also expects defending state champion Kailua of the Oahu Interscholastic Association to be a tough team to beat once again.

He also thinks Hawaii Baptist of the ILH and Kapolei, Castle, Waianae and Leilehua of the OIA will be strong squads.

The Warriors aren't the only team with pitching. Dominant performers Courtney Kessell of Kailua and Sarah Weiskopff of Punahou are among the top returning hurlers.

Softball mom: Punahou coach Kristl Okuhara-Chinen delivered big-time earlier this month.

Delivered a baby, that is.

Okuhara-Chinen gave birth to a boy, Christian Chinen, on Dec. 3.

The new mom is taking a leave from coaching and teaching, and Ray Minami is the Buffanblu's interim head coach in her absence.

Even with her new duties, Okuhara-Chinen is still thinking about the Punahou players and the sport in general.

"Kamehameha is the favorite in the ILH and Iolani is always right in there," she said. "Mililani is always a powerhouse in the OIA, Kailua is strong again and I've also heard Kapolei is really strong this year, too. It (Kapolei) is a growing community and (the team) will keep getting better and better.

"But I really miss my players."

Wolfpack have new coach: Boys soccer coach Paul Fu, who guided Pac-Five to a second-place ILH finish a year ago, resigned over the summer.

Nawapan Smith, last year's Pac-Five JV coach, is his replacement, Fu said.

The difficult drives back and forth from his home in Mililani to Kapiolani Park every day were part of his reason Fu stepped down.

"I miss the boys, they're a good bunch of kids," said Fu, who was the Star-Bulletin's Coach of the Year last season. "And there's a lot of good returning players. I think they'll place high this year."

This is an important season for the Wolfpack because they're eligible for the state tournament for the first time. Last season, they missed out on the ILH's second berth into the states because of a rule prohibiting teams drawing players from more than one school.

In June, the state's athletic directors and the Hawaii High School Athletic Association overturned the rule. Still, Pac-Five must place first or second to qualify this season.

It won't be easy in the highly competitive league that opened up yesterday. Defending state runner-up Punahou and third-place Kamehameha, which fared well in last year's state tourney, look to be strong once again as well.

Titans coach out: Pac-Three football coach Kevin O'Brien resigned last week.

"It has to do with a different opinion of philosophy and the direction of athletics at St. Anthony," O'Brien said.

O'Brien was a head coach of St. Anthony (a private school on Maui) for four years before becoming the first Pac-Three coach this year. The Titans are made up of players from St. Anthony and two other private schools --Seabury Hall and Kaahumanu Hou.

"I love St. Anthony students, especially the football players. Leaving is certainly hard," he said.

"But it's been a struggle with numbers and depth -- historically always a struggle. Now the school's enrollment is down and tuition is at an all-time high. It's a tough combination to deal with."

O'Brien was a St. Anthony assistant for seven years before becoming head coach.

"Kids involved in Kevin's program are all better people because of him," St. Anthony athletic director Dan Molin said. "With him leaving, it's hard for everybody -- for him the players and the school.

"But we're excited about the future and we're moving forward. A search committee is forming to look for a new coach."

Those interested in applying for the Pac-Three job can send a cover letter, resume and two letters of reference to Dan Molin either by fax to (808) 244-9217 or by mail to St. Anthony High School, 1618 Lower Main St., Wailuku, HI, 96793.

O'Brien is one of three football coaches around the state who won't be back next year.

Jake Kawamata stepped down at Leilehua and was replaced by JV coach Nolan Tokuda.

Ronald Oyama resigned from his job at Kaimuki and a search is on for a replacement.


Athletes of the Week

>> Jimmy Afamasaga, Nanakuli football: Scored two touchdowns and caught four passes for 97 yards in the West All-Stars' 30-7 victory over the East in the Hawaii Union Builders Goodwill Classic.
>> Sarah Weiskopff, Punahou softball: Threw a perfect game in a 10-0 victory over Sacred Hearts.

Honor Roll


>> Fehi Sevelo, Damien: Blocked a field goal to set up a touchdown for the West in the all-star game victory.
>> Brandon Pieper, Kapolei: Caught a TD pass and intercepted a pass in the West's win.


>> Mandy Yoshizu, University: Pitched UHS to a 6-1 victory over Maryknoll.
>> Monique Obra, Iolani: Pitched the Raiders to a 4-3 win over St. Francis.
>> Krystelle Garcia, Waiakea: Went 3-for-3 with three RBIs in a win over Keaau.


>> Keo Evans-Gonda, Thompson Academy: Scored nine of the Sharks' 16 points in the first game in the school's history --a 72-16 loss to Mid-Pacific.
>> Kawika Hepa, Kamehameha: Scored 17 points in a victory over Leilehua.
>> Angelo Massey, Leilehua: Scored 17 in a loss to Kamehameha.

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