HONOKAA — Kamehameha sophomore Mykala Tokunaga spent part of her time leading up to the season strengthening her wrist and working on her pitching repertoire.
Just to make sure she was extra ready, she slept at a friend’s house Friday night in North Hawaii, allowing her to arrive early to Honokaa Park.
By the time everyone else got to Saturday’s Big Island Interscholastic Federation softball opener, Tokunaga certainly carried the look of a refined and well-rested ace.
Raring and ready to go, she tossed a four-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts as Kamehameha defeated Honokaa 12-0.
“I got a good warm-up in because I came to the field earlier,” said Tokunaga, who only walked one batter. “Usually I don’t take the longest warm-up, but my coaches were saying it was extra-important. They were saying I should take my time.”
Tokunaga didn’t allow a hit until Honokaa’s Jasmine Castro reached on a single in the fourth. She had a one-hitter going when the Dragons managed three consecutive singles with two outs in the seventh, but she extinguished the threat with a strikeout.
She appeared even more overpowering than last season when she earned BIIF Division II Player of the Year.
“I’ve learned more pitches, that’s for sure,” she said. “I gained some speed because I’ve been working on wrists snaps. My wrists were uncomfortable last year. My coaches wanted me to do long tosses, and we’re going to incorporate that in the future.
“My curve was working. Usually it works, but today it was working extra good.”
The Warriors, who feasted on 13 walks, gave Tokunaga all the support she needed during a four-run first inning. Kaitlin Agustin issued three free passes to batters who each came around to score, two of them on a throwing error.
“It’s tough when you’re chasing from the beginning,” Dragons coach Wesley Fujimoto said. “The girls were nervous. We had no preseason games, but Kamehameha had some on Kauai.
“Kaitlin settled down and did OK.”
While the Dragons suffered a bit from jitters, two-time defending champion Kamehameha, which didn’t commit an error, showed off its seasoning.
Freshman leadoff hitter Kiarra Lincoln flashed range at second base in making a couple of fine defensive plays. At the plate, she made the most of her 5-foot frame, tripling and scoring in the fourth and finishing 2 for 4.
“When I train with my dad, he makes me use heavier bats,” Lincoln said of how she generates her power. “I think we were anxious, but when we saw a lot of balls we were looking for the walk. But what we really need to do is hit.”
First baseman Pomai Longakit also finished with two hits, including an RBI single in the first to score shortstop Makena Wagner, who had doubled.
In the third, Tokunaga doubled and came around to score on an error.
She was happy the Warriors were able to handle one of their biggest Division II obstacles in their opener.
“We were focusing on Honokaa,” Tokunaga said. “They are one of our main competitors.”
The Warriors took advantage of five walks and two hit batters to tack on five runs in the seventh. Right fielder Gayla Ha-Cabebe delivered a two-run single.
In six innings, Agustin allowed seven hits and seven runs with eight walks.
Kamehameha 401 200 5 — 12 8 0
Honokaa 000 000 0 — 0 4 3
Konawaena 16, Pahoa 4: Jayssa Grace struck out seven in a five-inning TKO in Kealakekua and collected two hits at the plate.
The Wildcats needed just five hits, coaxing 12 walks from three Daggers pitchers. Anu Binney drove in a run for Konawaena.
Grace walked two batters and hit two more, allowing a pair of hits.
Mackenzie Singleton took the loss for Pahoa
Pahoa 004 00 — 4 2 3
Konawaena 610 9x —16 5 2
Kealakehe 25, Ka’u 0: Tavian Taketa highlighted the host Waveriders’ 17-run second inning, hitting a three-run home run and two-run single.
Breianna McLeod also homered in Kealakehe’s opener, finishing 3 for 3 with two RBIs and scoring four times. Nicole Cerezo tripled twice with four RBIs and three runs scored, and Nani Halemau was 2 for 2 with three RBIs and three runs scored. But Taketa led the way, driving in six and crossing the plate four times.
Winning pitcher Kelina Palmer-Kahanui worked three hitless innings, walking three and striking out two.
Ka’u starter Kamalani Fujikawa struck out a batter but hit eight in two innings pitched.
Ka’u 000 — 0 0 3
Kealakehe 8(17)x—25 13 2
Keaau 11, Kohala 6: The Cougars won at home in their opener, dropping the Cowgirls to 1-1.
Statistics were not available at press time.
Hilo 17, Hawaii Prep 1: The Vikings opened their BIIF Division I title defense with a victory in Waimea.
Ka Makani fell to 0-2.
Statistics were not available at press time.