KEAAU — For Samantha Simmons, the key hit of the game wasn’t very memorable.
“Was that the blooper?” the Kamehameha junior asked.
But it will show up as a line drive in the box score, and Simmons’ single triggered a six-run third inning Tuesday as the Warriors overtook Keaau 9-4 in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation softball game on their home field.
Mykala Tokunaga pitched a complete game with 10 strikeouts and belted a home run among her three hits for Kamehameha (7-2), which has all but wrapped up a berth to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II tournament.
The Warriors’ rally in the third was less about power and more about making contact against Lohi Kamakea-Wong and reaping the rewards.
“We had to shorten our swings and basically play pepper and use the pitcher’s power,” Simmons said. “That’s what we’ve been working on in practice. Just try to throw my hands out there and not use as much as my power.
“I didn’t want to over-swing, I wanted to relax and help my team out.”
With the the bases loaded and two outs in a 3-3 game, Simmons’ soft hit fell in short right to bring in two runs, and a third run scored on an error.
Kamehameha recorded five hits in the inning, and most were of the seeing-eye variety. Tokunaga added a run-scoring single to shallow left, and Ronelle Valera brought in another run with an infield bloop single to second base.
“Just one of those innings,” Cougars coach Peter Ngirngotel said. “They made contact and put the bat out there and did the job.
“Now the home run, that was a good hit.”
Leading off the second, Tokunaga stroked the ball over the fence in center field and finished with four RBIs. In the circle, the Warriors’ ace allowed a three-run double to Shaniya Kamakea-Wong in the third, but she recovered and allowed only one run the rest of the way.
Tokunaga allowed five hits and four walks and was backed by a defense that committed only one error.
“Not bad, and they’re getting better,” Kamehameha coach Gary Ahu said of an infield — first baseman Gayla Ha-Cabebe, second baseman Kiarra Lincoln, shortstop Makena Wagner and Simmons at third base — featuring a first-year starter at each position.
“Our outfield has improved, too, and has learned how to track the ball,” Simmons said.
Lincoln finished 2 for 4.
The loss for the Cougars (6-3) means they will have to hit the road in the BIIF Division I playoffs against either Hilo or Waiakea. Shaniya Kamakea-Wong went 2 for 3 with four RBIs, and Kylee Kaakimaka-Paris had a double.
“(Tokunaga) was a challenge,” Ngirngotel said. “We didn’t realize her power as far as the speed of the ball.”
Lohi Kamakea-Wong left in fifth inning after feeling some discomfort after an at-bat. In four innings, she allowed eight hits and eight runs with four walks and three strikeouts.
The loudest cheers of the afternoon came from the Keaau faithful when Caitlyn Calhoun entered in the fifth to make her pitching debut, allowing one run in two innings.
“She was a crying and I had to calm her down,” Ngirngotel said. “She’s our MVP today.”
Keaau 003 010 0 — 4 5 1
KSH 016 101 x — 9 10 1
Waiakea 15, Ka’u 0: Taylor Ogawa was 3 for 3 with a three-run double to back Alyssa Hara in the circle as the host Warriors clinched the second seed and a home-field advantage in the Division I semifinals.
Hara pitched a four-inning complete game and allowed only one hit and two walks with three strikeouts for Waiakea (7-2).
Kamalani Fujikawa issued 12 walks in taking the loss for the Trojans (0-8), while Cierra Kaopua had her team’s hit.
On April 19, Waiakea will host either Keaau or Kealakehe in a doubleheader as part of a best-of-three playoff. The Cougars and Waveriders will determine the third seed when the play Thursday in Kailua-Kona.
Ka’u 000 0 — 0 1 1
Waiakea 140 (10) —15 4 0
Hilo 13, Pahoa 1: Aliesa Kaneshiro tossed a one-hitter with seven strikeouts in Pahoa as the Vikings improved to 9-0.
Kaneshiro, who struck out seven in a five-inning complete game with four walks, Moana Pinner and Caitlyn Price each finished with two hits for Hilo.
The two-time defending champion Vikings have already clinched the top seed in the Division I playoffs, and they will host either Kealakehe or Keaau on April 19 in a doubleheader.
Mackenzie Singleton was the losing pitcher for the Daggers (1-8), walking five in two innings. Erleen Oguma had Pahoa’s hit.
Hilo 730 03 —13 9 0
Pahoa 010 00 — 1 1 7
Kohala at Honokaa: The game was postponed by rain and rescheduled for 3 p.m. today.