With Konawaena’s softball team down to its final out, Wildcats coach Shellie Grace saw the positive body language in Kaua Mitchell, and the senior followed that up with some strong words.
“She was confident, and she said, ‘I got this,’” Grace said.
Mitchell didn’t disappoint, stroking a two-out, two-run double that gave Konawaena a dramatic 3-2 victory over Honokaa in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II semifinals Thursday in Kealakekua.
With the victory, the Wildcats (9-6) earned a berth in the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II state tournament, which begins Tuesday at Maui’s Patsy Mink Field.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, Konawaena will face Kamehameha (15-1) in the BIIF Division II final in Keaau. At the same time, the Dragons (11-4) will host Kohala (6-10) in a game that will determine the league’s final Division II state berth.
Konawaena’s Jordan Losalio-Watson began the bottom of the seventh by reaching on an error. Honokaa’s Kaitlin Agustin then retired the next two batters, but the Wildcats’ Bethany Batangan, who went 2 for 4, extended the inning with a single to right. That set things up for Mitchell, who chased home Losalio-Watson and Batangan with a double to left-center, setting off a wild celebration.
“Everybody was on the field and jumping for joy,’’ Grace said.
The rally made a winner out of Shyla Victor, who pitched a seven-hitter. She struck out one and walked one.
Honokaa had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth, when Kayla Kalauli’s bases-loaded single plated Chasity Nickel with one out. With the bases still loaded, Victor prevented a big inning by retiring Kayla Requelman and Agustin on popups to shortstop.
“Shyla did really well keeping the ball in the strike zone, and the defense backed her up,’’ Grace said.
Agustin, who also pitched a complete game, suffered the hard-luck loss. She allowed six hits, striking out five and walking five.
At the plate, Kalauli led the Dragons, going 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Honokaa 100 010 0 — 2 7 1
Konawaena 100 000 2 — 3 6 2