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Kamehameha pounds its way past ‘Iolani, 9-4, for ILH softball title

By: Wes Nakama

Proving again that it is primed for the postseason, Kamehameha pounded its way past ‘Iolani, 9-4, late Monday afternoon to capture its first ILH softball championship since 2016.

The Warriors scored four runs in the top of the first inning and then took a 6-0 lead in the third to help finish their league campaign at 12-5, earning the ILH’s top seed and first-round bye in the DataHouse HHSAA State Championships next Tuesday through Friday at the University of Hawai’i’s Rainbow Wahine Stadium. The Raiders, who had won the regular season crown, fell to 13-5 as the ILH’s No. 2 seed and will begin play in the first round on May 2.

“Our offense is coming together, and our defense is starting to come together,” Kamehameha coach Mark Lyman said. “We’ve always had a really good team, it’s just we’re starting to put it together a little bit more and trust each other a little bit more. We just want to peak at the right time, and it feels good going into states.”

The Warriors had won the ILH tournament title with a narrow 2-1 victory at ‘Iolani’s field on Saturday, and returned to the same diamond Monday afternoon ready for the hana hou.

Kamehameha jumped out to the 4-0 lead in the first inning highlighted by Jewel Hanawahine’s two-run double, then made it 6-0 in the third on Hanawahine’s two-run homer over the fence in center field.

“Our coaches were telling us before the game to strike fast and strike often, and I think that’s what we did today,” said Hanawahine, a senior third baseman who signed to play for New Mexico next season. “All of our hitters were on, and our pitcher (Ani Soller) was on, too, shutting them down in the early innings. It was an all-around team win.”

Soller, a junior right-hander, scattered six hits and did not allow an earned run in last Saturday’s 2-1 complete game road victory. And on Monday, the only run she allowed through the first five innings came on Hunter Salausa-Galletes’ RBI double after Mia Carbonell had reached on a two-out double in the third. 

“It was just being confident on the mound, coming out strong, believing in my defense and throwing strikes,” Soller said. “When they got on base, I just tried to stay confident and stay calm, and try to get the next out. Just focus on the next batter and leave all that in the past.”

The Raiders, who scored a total of 40 runs in their first four meetings with Kamehameha, finally erupted for three runs in the sixth inning Monday by taking advantage of Lexi Muramoto’s RBI double and two errors. But Soller got a pop-up to shortstop to end the rally, and then only allowed a hit batter in the seventh to close out her second straight complete game.

“We had been lucky enough to play them very well throughout this entire season, but today unfortunately things just didn’t go our way,” ‘Iolani coach Chad Cordero said. “We finally made adjustments late in the game, unfortunately we couldn’t do it earlier on. But that’s kind of our M.O. right now, we kind of just stay right there, and then we try to strike over the last couple innings. We gotta figure out a way to change that up and have a balanced attack throughout the entire game.”

Hanawahine finished 2 for 4 with the double, home run and four RBIs, Mua Williams went 2 for 3 with an RBI double and Kezia Lucas went 1 for 2 with a two-run double. Salausa-Galletes finished 2 for 3 with the RBI single and Muramoto went 2 for 4 with the run-scoring double to lead the Raiders’ offense.