There’s nothing like a little adversity, such as losing a gigantic lead and then surviving, to toughen up a team, something Hilo softball coach Leo Sing Chow knows.
The Vikings prevailed over Waiakea 16-9 in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I game Saturday at Walter Victor Complex, closing the regular season and setting the four-team league tournament.
In the BIIF tournament at 3 p.m. Thursday, it’s No. 4 Kealakehe (5-5, 7-7) at No. 1 Hilo (9-1, 13-2), and No. 3 Waiakea (6-4, 9-6) at No. 2 Keaau (7-3, 10-5).
Hilo scored five runs in the first and third innings, and was three outs away from a TKO victory and calling it an early day. But the Warriors refused to go down quietly under a hot afternoon sun, responding with an eight-run outburst in the top of the fifth.
“I feel like we’re coming together well and working on enjoying the experience and making the most of the opportunity,” Sing Chow said.
The defending BIIF champion Vikings scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth, not enough for a 10-run TKO margin, but a good sign that Hilo would make its Senior Day memorable with a hard-fought victory.
Aliesa Kaneshiro picked up the win, walking nine but neutralizing some of free passes with eight strikeouts. She also helped herself, going 2 for 4 with a two-run double and three RBIs.
She also got offensive support from Caitlyn Price (2 for 5, two RBIs) and Fantacie Keahilihau-Kuamoo (2 for 4, two-run homer in sixth inning).
Alexis Anzai took the loss. She and Brandi Maximo combined to walk nine batters.
Maximo batted 3 for 4 while Taylor Nishimura, Ariana Mareko, Melissa Tubera and Taylor Ogawa added two hits each for the Warriors.
In other games, Keaau beat Pahoa 8-7, Kealakehe upset Honokaa 5-1, and Konawaena beat Kohala 12-3. The Honokaa loss and Kona win earn the Wildcats a bye in the first round of the BIIF Division II six-team tournament.
In the first round at 3 p.m. Tuesday, it’s No. 6 Hawaii Prep (1-9, 1-13) at No. 3 Honokaa (6-4, 10-4), and No. 5 Pahoa (2-8, 3-12) at No. 4 Kohala (3-7, 5-9).
On Thursday at 3 p.m., No. 1 Kamehameha (10-0, 14-1) will host the Pahoa-Kohala winner, and No. 2 Kona (6-4, 8-6) will host the HPA-Honokaa winner.
Hilo and Kamehameha, the BIIF regular season champions for Division I and II, respectively, have already earned berths to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state tournaments.
Waiakea 000 080 1 — 9 13 4
Hilo 505 042 x —16 11 3
Kealakehe 5, Honokaa 1: Ashley Isisaki pitched a complete-game four hitter, and the Waveriders took advantage of six Dragon errors at Honokaa’s Parks and Recreation complex in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Isisaki struck out eight and walked one for Division I Kealakehe (5-5 BIIF, 7-7 overall)
Isisaki, a senior, had an RBI triple in the fourth inning and finished 2-for-4.
Honokaa’s Precious Palea-Enos also pitched a four-hitter, striking out five and walking three. Of the five runs she allowed, only one was earned.
At the plate, Palea-Enos went 2 for 3 with an RBI for the Dragons (6-4, 10-4).
Allie Shiraki tripled and scored on Palea-Enos run-scoring single in the third for Honokaa’s lone run.
Kealakehe 003 200 0 — 5 4 2
Honokaa 001 000 0 — 1 4 6
Konawaena 12, Kohala 5: Pualani Ubando went 4 for 4 with three RBIs at Kamehameha Park.
Chryssa Dacalio, who went 2 for 3, also drove in three runs, and Anu Binney was 2 for 3 with an RBI.
Binney earned the win in the circle by pitching 5 2/3 innings. She gave up three runs on five hits, striking out three and walking eight.
Ashlyn Van Zandt went the distance for Kohala. She gave up 12 runs on 14 hits, striking out three and walking five.
At the plate, Tomiko Coito was 2 for 3 for the Cowgirls (3-7, 5-9.
Kohala 002 010 0 — 3 5 4
Konawaena 017 301 0 — 12 14 2