By MATT GERHART
Tribune-Herald sports writer
Lohi Kamakea-Wong likes to take the ball for Keaau in big games, preferring to feed off the pressure and, in turn, come through for her team.
By her own admission, however, she was just so-so in the circle Wednesday at Waiakea.
“I could have done a lot better,” Kamakea-Wong said.
But with her late-game heroics at the plate, it’d be hard to label the sophomore as anything other than clutch.
With the Cougars down to their last strike, Kamakea-Wong delivered a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh and Keaau held off Waiakea 10-9 to earn a key Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I softball victory.
“I was waiting for the right pitch,” she said of a 2-2, two-out offering from Alexis Anzai with runners on second and third. “I was thinking, ‘I’m going to hit this ball.’”
Her single to left field easily scored Kanoe Maka from third and Rylann Hacoba beat the throw home to force the fourth lead change of the game.
Kamakea-Wong also made sure it was the last one, getting two fine fielding plays from Hacoba at shortstop to retire the side in order in the seventh to wrap up a complete game for Keaau (6-1 BIIF, 9-3).
The Cougars won for the sixth time in seven games to remain in a tie for first place with Hilo. The Cougars and Vikings meet 3 p.m. Friday at Walter Victor Stadium.
Swept in two games by Keaau this season, the Warriors (5-2, 8-4) fell a game behind.
“I’m proud of them,” Keaau coach William Wong said. “I like the way they fight back.
“This puts us in good position.”
Kamakea-Wong, who walked three and struck out four and allowed seven hits, set down the last five batters she faced after Taylor Ogawa’s two-run single in the sixth capped a four-run rally and pulled Waiakea ahead 9-8.
Ogawa enjoyed a big day at the plate, finishing 2 for 4 with four RBIs, including a two-run home run in the fifth as Waiakea rallied from a 7-2 deficit.
“We were kind of upset at first, but after a while we pulled it together,” Kamakea-Wong said. “We were like ‘We’re going to fight through this this, we’re going to do this and we’re going to win this game.”
The Warriors had won four straight coming in, but they couldn’t overcome 10 errors in the field nor six free passes issued by Anzai.
Three of the errors as well as three of the walks — two with the bases loaded — came in the fifth as Keaau had nine straight batters reach and scored seven times.
“I don’t know with this team,” Waiakea coach Bo Saiki said. “Sometimes we play like a million bucks, and sometimes like a sewage plant.”
Ayanna Silva finished 2 for 2 with two RBIs for Keaau and Shaniya Kamakea-Wong also collected two hits. Hacoba walked and scored in the fifth, hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth and singled and scored in the seventh.
Maka bunted into a triple play in the second inning, but the No. 9 hitter drove home a run with a single in the sixth and started the seventh-inning rally by coaxing a walk.
“The bottom of the order started it for us,” Wong said. “We don’t just show up to the park. They’re getting confident in themselves.”
Taylor Nishimura was 2 for 2 with an RBI triple and scored twice for Waiakea and Ariana Mareko added a run-scoring single.
In seven innings, Anzai struck out six and also hit two batters.
Lohi Kamakea-Wong, who hit three batters, won’t have to wait long for her next pressure situation.
“We look forward to working as a team against Hilo,” she said.
Keaau 000 071 2 — 10 9 3
Waiakea 200 034 x — 9 8 10
Kamehameha 20, Pahoa 2: Elizabeth Kia and Jaylen Shiroma hit home runs as the visiting Warriors moved a step closer to clinching a berth at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association tournament.
Kia finished with three hits and four RBIs, including a three-run home run in the fourth inning for Kamehameha (7-0 BIIF Division II, 11-1), and Mykala Tokunaga hit a triple, finishing with two hits and two RBIs.
Shiroma’s homer was a solo shot.
Winning pitcher Samantha Simmons went the distance in the five-inning mercy rule affair, striking out four and allowing six hits and no walks.
The Warriors can clinch the outright regular-season championship and an automatic berth at states with a win in any of their remaining three games.
Ranchell Berinobis collected two hits for the Daggers (1-6 Division II, 2-10) and Randi Berinobis doubled.
Mackenzie Singleton struck out two but walked 15.
Kamehameha 730 73 —20 18 0
Pahoa 000 20 — 2 6 3
Kealakehe 19, Hawaii Prep 7: Ashley Isisaki made her last regular-season softball game at Kealakehe a mamorable one.
The only senior on the Waveriders, Isisaki pitched a five-hitter in the circle and went 3 for 4 with a double, a triple and three RBIs at the plate.
The Waveriders (4-4 BIIF Division I, 6-6 overall) pounded out 11 hits in the contest, which ended after four and a half innings because of the league’s 10-run mercy rule.
HPA (1-7, 1-11) tied the game at 7 in top of the fourth, with Ranko Ono highlighting a six-run inning with a two-run double to right field and Kawena Lim-Samura adding a sacrifice fly.
Kealakehe answered with 12 runs in the bottom of the fourth, getting an RBI triple from Isisaki and run-scoring singles from Leisha Nakagawa, Kiersen Kahele and Lina Palmer-Kahananui.
Like Isisaki, Nakagawa collected a triple and three RBIs. She and Nani Anakalea-Haleamau, who drove in two runs, both went 2 for 3 while Tavian Taketa and Daesha Garcia scored three runs apiece.
In the circle, Isisaki gave up four earned runs, striking out one and walking four.
Ka Makani starter Lim-Samura lasted 3 2/3 innings and took the loss. She surrendered 19 runs — 13 earned — on 11 hits. She struck out two and walked nine.
At the plate, Ono finished 2-for-3, and Tehane Reynolds drove in a run with a fielder’s choice ground ball.
HPA 100 6 0 — 7 5 2
Kealakehe 331 (12) x — 19 11 4
Konawaena 6, Honokaa 4: Jayssa Grace highlighted a four-run second inning with a two-run single, and Anu Binney scattered 10 hits in a complete game as the Wildcats snapped the Dragons’ seven-game winning streak at Honokaa Parks and Recreation complex.
Hero Wooching, who finished 2 for 3, added an RBI single in Konawaena’s big second inning, which gave the Wildcats (3-4 BIIF, 5-6 overall) a 6-2 lead.
Honokaa (5-3, 9-3) chipped away, getting single runs in the fourth and fifth inning before putting runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the seventh. But Binney struck out Zarina Hasegawa and Chasity Nickel to end the game as Konawaena ended a four-game losing streak.. The junior pitcher struck out three and walked three.
Dragons starting pitcher Kayla Kalauli lasted two inning in taking the loss. She gave up six runs on four hits, striking out one and walking two.
Precious Palea-Enos followed with five shutout innings, allowing just one hit and four walks while striking out five.
Shayla Ignacio led Honokaa at the plate, going 3 for 4 with an RBI. Also, Kaitlin Agustin went 2 for 3 and drove in a run while Allie Shiraki was 2 for 4 with a triple and two runs scored. But the Dragons left 10 runners on base in the contest.
Konawaena 240 000 0 — 6 5 0
Honokaa 200 011 0 — 4 10 2
Hilo 20, Ka’u 0: The Vikings scored 12 runs in the first inning in Pahala and ended a two-game losing streak with a five-inning victory via the mercy rule.
Aliesa Kaneshiro picked up the win in the circle for Hilo (6-1, 10-2), while Shaylin Navarro was the losing pitcher for the Trojans (0-7, 0-12).
No other information was available.
Hilo (12)12 23 —20
Ka’u 000 00—0
Stephens Media contributed to this report