On-Air Now
On-Air Now
Listen Live
, , ,

Mililani powers past Kapolei, 13-2, to win OIA DI title

Mililani powers past Kapolei, 13-2, to win OIA DI title

By Wes Nakama

Powered by senior Makayla Pagampao’s three monster home runs, Mililani blew past Kapolei, 13-2, Saturday night to capture its first OIA Division I softball championship since 2017.

The victory at McKinley — shortened to five innings due to the 10-run rule — improved the Trojans to 14-1 and secured the league’s top seed and first-round bye in the upcoming state tournament May 14-17. The Hurricanes fell to 9-7 and will begin state tourney play in the first round on May 14.

Kapolei went 6-6 in the regular season and entered the OIA playoffs as the No. 4 seed in the OIA Western Division. But the Hurricanes’ bats came alive earlier this week, starting with a 13-3 victory over Roosevelt and then a stunning 18-8 comeback win over East No. 1 seed Kalani after the Falcons had led 7-4 through four innings. 

On Friday, Kapolei knocked off defending state champion and West runner-up Campbell, 12-8.

The Hurricanes looked good early Saturday night, jumping to a quick 2-0 lead after a pair of two-out home runs by Kayara Tuiloma and Kandi Malama-Ahlo in the top of the first inning. But Mililani staged its own two-out rally in the third, drawing two walks and to set up Pagampao’s three-run homer over the center field fence.

The Trojans rallied again after two outs in the fourth, with a walk, single and Kolbi Kochi’s two-run double to right-center field to push the lead to 5-2.

Mililani then exploded for eight runs in the fifth, starting with back-to-back solo homers by Pagampao and Sunni Kahanu, followed by three walks and a grand slam by ‘Ui Garcia over the left field fence. After a two-out walk, Pagampao then smashed a towering two-run walk-off homer into the tree branches far beyond the left field fence.

“We tried not to freak out (being down 2-0 early), we tried to stay calm and do what we need to do and try to get the runs back,” said Pagampao, a senior designated player. “I think I was a little anxious (on) my first at-bat (a pop-up to shortstop). So I tried to just relax … I tried to focus more.”

Meanwhile, Trojans freshman starter Hinano Bautista was doing the same in the pitching circle, retiring six of the next seven batters after allowing the second home run. And when Kapolei did get base hits in the final three innings, Mililani’s defense backed up Bautista with a rally-killing double play each time.

“Those double plays — three of them — the timing was huge,” Trojans coach Rose Antonio said. “(Bautista) just went back to work (after the home runs). Just flush it, and move forward.”

Antonio said the team as a whole has grown a lot over the past year, and especially since this season began.

“From the beginning of the season, we were excited and my coaches and I knew this team was special,” Antonio said. “They just had to put it together and believe … and do it.”

Pagampao said there still is work to do.

“I feel really confident in all of us, but I know we cannot take any team lightly,” said Pagampao, who finished 3 for 4 with six runs batted in. “We all just still need to work hard.”

Garcia went 2 for 4 with four RBIs, Kahanu went 2 for 2 with the solo homer, and Kochi went 1 for 3 with the two-run double. Tuiloma went 2 for 2 with the solo homer to lead the Hurricanes.

Mahalo to these sponsors for proudly backing Hawai’i high school sports, enabling us to continue showcasing athletes and schools here in the 808. Your support makes it all possible.