JARED FUJISAKI photo — Waiakea High School’s Alexis Anzai hurled a 5-hitter against crosstown rival Hilo in a BIIF softball game Tuesday at Waiakea. The Warriors fought past the previously unbeaten Vikings 6-2.
By MATT GERHART
Tribune-Herald sports writer
From Alexis Anzai’s pinpoint control to her teammates’ line-drive mentality at the plate, the Waiakea softball team didn’t try to do too much Tuesday against Hilo.
In the process, the Warriors showed they’re still a team that has the potential to accomplish a lot.
Anzai pitched a five-hitter and seven different Waiakea players collected hits as the Warriors dealt the Vikings their first loss of the season with a 6-2 victory on their home field.
“They didn’t make mistakes like they normally do,” Waiakea coach Bo Saiki said. “We’re finally starting to hit line drives. They’re no longer thinking long ball.”
Anzai, a senior right-hander, noted that Waiakea (4-1 Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I, 7-3 overall) felt a pregame adrenaline rush at the prospect of facing its rival — and an undefeated one at that.
“Our team was really pumped up,” she said.
Yet, in the batter’s box, the circle and in the field, Waiakea took a calm, disciplined approach and won its third straight since getting off to an uncharacteristic 4-3 start.
“I think we realize how much more we’re capable of doing,” said senior shortstop Brandi Maximo, who was 2 for 4 with an RBI single. “We’ve come a long way. We’ve actually learned how to work together as team and became stronger.”
Anzai struck out just two, but she changed speeds and used an effective riseball to induce Hilo (5-0 Division I, 9-1) to record 11 outs in the air. She walked two and hit a batter.
“I don’t try to strike them out. I hit my spots, and I trust my fielders,” she said. “I was getting ahead of the batters most of the time and they were falling for my off-speed pitches.”
Waiakea finished with 10 hits and played clean defensively until two errors led to an unearned run off Anzai in the sixth inning.
She called it her best performance of the season, and Saiki said her fielders backed her up like never before.
“We’ve got a lot better (in the field) since the beginning (of the season),” Anzai said “They’re able to make the routine plays now. They’re not so nervous.”
Waiakea played pepper with Hilo center fielder Jordyn Breitbarth in the third inning, scoring three times to take a 4-1 lead.
Cheylee Octavio, Maximo and Ariana Mareko all hit singles to center, and Taylor Ogawa lined a double to center.
“I was thinking base hit, base hit, to get on base so we could have runners on the bags and get in situations,” Maximo said.
Mareko was 2 for 2 with a double and reached base in all four of her plate appearances, and Elizabeth Sakamoto was 2 for 2 with a walk.
The defending BIIF Division I champion Vikings came in undefeated, but they had lived dangerously of late, winning three of their past four games by a run.
“We’ve been having trouble making routine plays, in practice and in games,” Hilo coach Leo Sing-Chow said. “It’s just a lack of focus. Maybe we needed this and it will get them to refocus, come back and work harder.”
Fantacie Keahilihau-Kuamoo hit an RBI triple to give Hilo a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
But while Waiakea was efficient — Maximo had her team’s only RBI — the Vikings started making mistakes.
Mareko led off the second against Hilo ace Aliesa Kaneshiro with a walk, and pinch-runner Kyleigh Kahala-Giron eventually came around to score on a balk. In the fifth, Jayla Costa led off with a double, stole a base and scored on a wild pitch. In the fifth, Sakamoto singled, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on an error.
Kaneshiro went the distance and struck out three, walking four and throwing five wild pitches and hitting a batter. Two of the runs she allowed were unearned.
Caitlyn Price finished with two hits for Hilo and Sharlei Graham-Bernisto scored two runs. But when the Vikings made good contact, they often lifted the ball to medium distance in the outfield.
“We definitely didn’t put the ball on the ground and we didn’t execute as much as we should have,” Sing-Chow said. “But at the same time, they had played us right in the outfield.”
Hilo 100 001 0 –2 5 2
Waiakea 013 110 x –6 10 2
Kohala 16, Konawaena 14: In Kealakekua, Tiana Luga picked up the win in the circle and drove in three runs, and the Cowgirls stopped the potential tying run from coming to the plate by throwing out a runner at home for the final out.
Trailing 14-8, the Wildcats scored six runs in the bottom of the seventh, with Saxon Nagata making it 16-14 on a two-out, two-run single to right field off reliever Ashlyn Van Zandt. Konawaena’s Bethany Batangan tried to score on the play, but second baseman Kiana Alejandro-Cazimero took a throw from right fielder Lai Coito-Bello and fired a strike to catcher Tomiko Coito, who tagged out Batangan to end the game.
Luga pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing 12 hits and two walks. She struck out two.
At the plate, Sheana Cazimero went 4 for 6 with an RBI, while Luga, Hauoli Sproat-Lancaster and Denae Rivera added two hits apiece for Kohala (1-4 BIIF, 3-6 overall).
Batangan pitched the first 1 1/3 innings and took the loss for the Wildcats (2-3, 4-5). She allowed seven runs on four hits, walking two batters and striking out none.
Syleesia Jose, who finished 3 for 4, and Jayssa Grace each had three RBIs, while Nagata and Kaua Mitchell both went 2-for-3.
Kohala 255 400 0 — 16 13 4
Konawaena 301 130 6 — 14 13 6
• Kamehameha 20, Ka’u 5: Kekailani Wong Yuen and Janell Cameros each had three hits for the host Warriors in a game that ended after four and a half innings because of the league’s 10-run mercy rule.
Gayla Ha-Cabebe and Mykala Tokunaga added two hits apiece, and Samantha Simmons picked up the win in the circle for Kamehameha (4-0 BIIF, 8-1 overall).
Shaylin Navarro took the loss for Ka’u (0-4, 0-9).
• Honokaa 7, Kealakehe 4: At Kealakehe, Honokaa’s Kayla Kalauli and Precious Palea-Enos each went 2 for 4 with an RBI, and Kalauli pitched five solid innings as Honokaa beat Kealakehe.
The Dragons (3-2 BIIF, 7-2 overall) broke a 2-2 tie in the third inning, when Kaitlin Agustin reached on an error and later scored on another. Both Agustin and Allie Shiraki scored two runs in the game.
Kalauli and Palea-Enos gave Honokaa some breathing room in the top of seventh, coming through with RBI singles in a four-run inning that gave the Dragons a comfortable 7-2 lead. Both Kalauli and Kayla Requelman, who doubled in the inning, scored on wild pitches.
In the circle Kalauli, a junior, went five innings, allowing two runs — one earned — on three hits. She struck out six and walked three.
Sophomore Lina Palmer-Kahananui went the distance for Kealakehe (2-3, 4-5) in taking the loss. She gave up seven runs — five earned — on six hits, striking out nine and walking four.
At the plate, Leisha Nakagawa went 2 for 3, and Ashley Isisaki had a double for a Kealakehe team that scored all four of its run without the benefit of an RBI.
Honokaa 002 010 4 — 7 6 1
Kealakehe 011 000 2 — 4 4 4
Stephens Media contributed to this report