University's Richie-Ann Titcomb stretched to snag a throw as Kalaheo's Kaliko Kepa slid safely into second base yesterday.

Kapolei, University
win titles

The Hurricanes secure their
first state crown in a rematch
of the OIA championship game

Good things come in threes, as Kapolei softball coach Tony Saffery will verify.

The Hurricanes captured their first Oahu Interscholastic Association West title, an OIA championship and their first state title this season. In an epic game featuring the state's best two pitchers, Kapolei won its first state championship behind an all-around effort from ace Tajia Acierto and the bat of third baseman Austi Paris.

In a rematch of the OIA Championship, the Hurricanes defeated the Kailua Surfriders 4-1 yesterday for the Datahouse Softball State Championship. It is the second championship in a team sport (girls bowling) for a school that is 4 years old. A near capacity crowd of 1,200 wasn't budging as pitchers Acierto and Courtney Kessell battled late into a breezy night at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.

"Good things come in threes for us," Saffery said. "It wasn't a matter of wearing (Kessell) down. We just asked the girls to be patient at the plate. (Kessell) is very deceptive.

"We beat a formidable champion out there."

A night after lifting the Hurricanes into the championship, Acierto had just enough left to spur Kapolei to the title. The sophomore struck out three, scattered eight hits and gave up a run.

"She was nothing short of impressive," said Saffery.

So, too, was Kessell, who struck out nine, allowed six hits and three runs. The junior often worked her way back into the count after falling behind. Her teammates also followed suit. Kailua nearly rallied in the top of the seventh, loading the bases. But the Surfriders couldn't take advantage of their opportunities.

Acierto took care of the final out, fielding it cleanly and throwing to first to end the game.

"They were the Cinderella team," Surfriders coach Bernard Victor said. "Like I told the girls, you have to play four good games and we played three good games. They played four good games, that's how it goes. We just ran out of gas."

Acierto helped her own cause by getting the Hurricanes on the board first. She hit an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning with two outs. Acierto hit a grounder to center to score Amanda Shigetani, who drew a walk earlier. Shigetani stole second and advanced to third on an error by the second baseman.

The Hurricanes finally got to Kessell, who was pitching her fourth game in four days. In the bottom of the sixth, Paris smacked a three-run homer over the center-field wall to push Kapolei to a 4-0 lead.

"I was just looking for a ball that I could put in play to advance the runners and that one came right down the pipe," Paris said. "(This championship) feels so good. We're young. To be state champions in four years."

Kamehameha (14-1-2) 000 001 0 -- 1 7 1
Punahou (13-4-1) 100 000 0 -- 1 4 2
Leading hitters--Kam: Kate Robinson, 3-3, 2b; Brandi Peiler, 2b; Emi Snow, rbi. Pun: Sarah Weisskopf, 2b, rbi.

Lahainaluna (17-3) 000 001 2 -- 3 6 0
Mililani (14-3) 000 031 x -- 4 5 2
W--Dana Lee. L--Tiffany Nava.
Leading hitters--Lah: Pilani Uyeda, 2-2; Tami Bernades, 2 rbi.

Baldwin (16-4) 010 100 1 -- 3 9 0
Pearl City (10-5-1) 000 000 0 -- 0 5 2
W--Nicole Alconcel. L--Corrie Nishikida.
Leading hitters--Bald: Alconcel, 2-4, rbi; Dayne Carvalho, 2-2. PC: Kellie Nishikida, 2-3.


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