On the outside, she can be a jokester, all giggles and carefree as any teenager.
Inside, though, Katie Manuma is a born competitor.
The Campbell senior was all business on the softball diamond, but even more important was a mature sensibility and awareness that allowed the multi-skilled standout to forget mistakes and simply move on. Coaches and media didn’t forget the intangibles, nor her excellence on the mound and at the plate, voting the powerful Manuma the Star-Advertiser’s All-State softball player of the year.
Normally, the format is to honor a pitcher of the year and a position player of the year. Manuma became the first standout in recent memory to dominate voting in both categories. It’s her second go-round as pitcher of the year.
The numbers told quite a story: With a mix of fastballs, drops, off-speed pitches and screwballs, the right-hander was 13-1 with an ERA of 0.68. She allowed only 51 hits in 93 innings, struck out 93 and walked just 17. Opposing batters hit only .156 against her, even with relaxed rules this year that gave offenses an edge.
At the plate, she batted .490 (24-for-49) with six homers and six doubles for a .980 slugging percentage. She also walked 14 times and had an on-base percentage of .609, and stole three bases for good measure.
Manuma finished with 22 runs scored and 22 RBIs. She hit .619 with runners in scoring position, leaving only four runners on base all season from the start of the tough Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West season through the state championships.
Beyond statistics, however, Manuma’s leadership and willpower were unmatched. Flash back to a Saturday morning at Mililani’s manicured diamond, and her grace was on display. A fluke play at the mound left her with a sprained ankle to complement a season-long achy knee. Then Campbell errors permitted Mililani to rally and force the game into extra innings.
Manuma kept her cool, as usual, and winced through every pitch before her team pulled out a 7-4 win to remain unbeaten.
"She’s all busted up, but she battled," coach David Perreira said at the time. "She’s a true warrior."
It was just one of many experiences the Sabers can relish since winning the state championship for the first time.
"We’ve been working hard since freshman year," Manuma said on Tuesday, just before her Mililani Prep club softball team left for the mainland to start a three-week stretch of tournament action on the continent and back on Oahu.
"Our team was closer this year. We had a lot of team bonding. We left our problems off the field: the drama, the boyfriends and stuff," she said.
For Manuma, sticking through tough times is par for the course. Older sisters Valana, Malamaisaua and Anita were star players. Manuma will follow their trail to the next level; she turned down an offer from UH to sign with BYU.
Her family moved from Ewa to Mililani two years ago, but she decided to stay on at Campbell. That meant remaining in Ewa with her aunt, Sa’aletaua Faifoloi, many times. Sometimes she’d catch a ride home, but there were also long bus rides after practice when she’d get home at 9 o’clock.
"I just wanted to stay at Campbell and make history," she said. "When you ride the bus, you think a lot about life."
After guiding the Sabers to an 18-1 mark and the state title, Perreira was named the Star-Advertiser’s coach of the year.
"Coach Dave made us write our team goals. He said, "Work hard 100 percent on and off the field," and taught us about having no regrets, just leaving it all on the field," Manuma said.
P: Tiari-Jay Fernandez, Mililani; Piilani Smith-Keopuhiwa, Waianae; Tanisha Aniya, Kapolei; Michelle Koerte, Waimea; Jaelleen Johnson, Kailua; Hope Morikawa, Lahainaluna; Kaitlyn Watanabe, Baldwin