Enough with the casual aloha spirit: It’s time for Hawaii to get serious at the RBI Softball World Series.
Nobu Yamauchi looks to ratchet up the intensity in the elimination round Saturday after it finished pool play with two more losses in Grapevine, Texas. The Big Islanders fell 7-6 to Hoboken, N.J., and 5-3 to Cleveland.
Coach Tracy Miyashiro’s primary focus Friday was to get fine-tuning for some of his players and rest for others.
“We wanted to throw the girls out there and see what they can do with their at-bats,” Miyashiro said.
Among those to step up was Honokaa senior Kayla Requelman, who belted three hits in the loss Cleveland.
For the second time at the ages 19-under tournament, Miyashiro opted to rest his experienced aces. Jessica Cameros pitched four innings against Hoboken, and then the Kamehameha freshman carried a lead into the fifth before Cleveland knocked her out during a four-run rally.
But it’s all hands on deck at 8 a.m. Central time Saturday in the quarterfinals when Hawaii (1-4) faces Harrisburg, Pa. (4-1). The teams haven’t met this week, but from Miyashiro has seen and heard, he said Harrisburg is “beatable.”
“We’ll throw everyone out there and leave it on the field,” he said. “We can compete with these teams.”
The winner draws either the Dominican Republic or Hoboken later Saturday in the semifinals.
Kealakehe senior Leisha Nakagawa was set to be the hero against Hoboken on Friday, delivering a go-ahead, RBI single with two outs in the top of the seventh. Down to their last out, Kamehameha junior Mykala Tokunaga started the rally with a double and tied the game 5-5 on a single by Waiakea sophomore Tierra Tevas.
But Hoboken responded with a two-out rally of its own against Kamehameha junior Makena Wagner, negating 12 Hawaii hits.
Tokunaga finished 3 for 4 with a double and two RBIs and Konawaena senior Bethany Batangan singled twice and scored two runs.
Against Cleveland, Cameros was hurt by a two-out error that led to three unearned runs being scored. In 4 2/3 innings, she allowed seven hits, five runs (two earned) with four walks and two strikeouts.
“She did pretty well and kept us in the game,” Miyashiro said.
Hilo High graduate Aliesa Kaneshiro, the team’s co-ace along with Tokunaga, allowed only a hit in the final 2 1/3.
Tokunaga had an RBI double among her two hits and Requelman was 3 for 4 with a run-scoring single and a run scored.
Miyashiro said Hawaii hasn’t been as consistent as he wanted in Texas, but he was hopeful the West Region champion could duplicate what Atlanta did last year when it lost four games in pool play before surging to the championship in the knockout round.
“We just need to put everything together,” he said.
Hawaii 100 030 2 — 6 12 2
Hoboken 003 020 2 — 7 8 1
Cleveland 010 040 0 — 5 8 2
Hawaii 101 000 1 — 3 8 2
All Hawaii times
Hawaii (1-4) vs. Harrisburg, Pa. (4-1), 3 a.m.
Dominican Republic (3-2) vs. Hoboken, N.J. (2-3), 3 a.m.
Houston (2-3) vs. Cleveland (2-3), 3 a.m.
Atlanta (5-0) vs. Minnesota (1-4), 3 a.m.
Hawaii-Harrisburg winner vs. Dominican Rep.-Hoboken winner, 5:30 a.m.
Houston-Cleveland winner vs. Atlanta-Minnesota winner, 5:30 a.m.
Semifinal winners, 6 a.m.