Konawaena’s softball team picked the perfect time for its first errorless game of the season.
Shyla Victor took advantage, pitching six strong innings Tuesday as the Wildcats defeated Waialua 6-2 in the opening round of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II tournament at Central Oahu Regional Park.
“The defense was the key,” coach Shellie Grace said.
For much of the season, the Big Island Interscholastic Federation runner-up Wildcats (9-5-1) masked inconsistent pitching and defense by hammering the ball at the plate.
Konawaena was outhit 9-5 by the Bulldogs (12-5) of the Oahu Interscholastic Association. Grace said Victor might not throw as hard as some of her teammates, but she gave her team a boost in the circle and hit the corners in key situations.
“We’ve noticed teams have a harder time hitting a slower pitcher,” Grace said. “She’s been pretty consistent at throwing strikes.”
And when the junior did, her defense backed her up. Victor didn’t register a strikeout, but she scattered eight hits and two walks in allowing only two runs.
Konawaena will face defending champion state Nanakuli (15-0), the top-seeded OIA champ, in a 5 p.m. quarterfinal today.
The Wildcats broke a 2-2 tie by scoring three runs in the fifth inning. Dorian Anu Binney led off with the only hit of the inning and came around to score on Teizha Kaluna’s bases-loaded walk. Bethany Batangan scored on a passed ball and Kiersen Kawehi Kahele’s groundout brought home another run.
Bethany Batangan finished 2 for 2 with two runs scored and an RBI single in the sixth. Syleesia Jose drove in a run with a single in the third.
Kaluna worked a scoreless seventh as the Wildcats broke a lengthy losing streak in state openers.
“We expected it,” Grace said. “We told the girls what they needed to do and they executed.”
McKinley 12, Kohala 1: The Tigers (8-9) of the OIA scored nine runs in the first inning and needed only four hits to claim the TKO victory.
Kiana Alejandro-Cazimero took the loss for the Cowgirls (5-8). The BIIF third-place team will play Lanai (7-6) in a consolation match at 5 p.m. today.
Aiea 16, Lanai 2: Raisa Strom-Okimoto earned the victory and collected three hits at the plate for Na Alli, which scored nine runs in the first inning and finished with 14 hits.
Aiea (14-2), the OIA runner-up, advances to face BIIF champion Kamehameha (12-2) in a 7 p.m. quarterfinal today.
In another first-round game, McKinley defeated Kohala 12-1. The Cowgirls (5-9), the BIIF third-place team, will play a consolation game at 5 p.m. today.
Leilehua 2, Waianae 1: Taezha Ann Cordero pitched a complete game to lift the Mules to an upset of the OIA runner-up Seariders (11-5).
Leilehua (8-10), the OIA’s No. 6 team, will take on BIIF champion Hilo (14-0) in a 1 p.m. quarterfinal today.