There was no overall league championship at stake, but the tears fell anyway.
Keiki Carlos fired a three-hit shutout and Ali‘itasi Docktor slammed a gargantuan solo shot to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning as host Mid-Pacific edged ‘Iolani 1-0 to earn a state-tournament berth.
“We were ready. We were pumped since the last game,” Carlos said, referring to a loss to Punahou over the weekend. “The (loss) was an awakening. We relaxed a little too much. Sometimes you learn from learning.”
MPI coach William Quinn was grateful.
“You know she has the potential,” he said of Docktor’s game-winning hit. “We got clutch hitting. That was a bomb. From the time she hit it, I knew it was gone. Keiki and (Nalani) Taniguchi pitched well, but somebody had to lose.”
The Owls took the first-round title in Interscholastic League of Honolulu softball play, frustrating the visiting Raiders and ace Taniguchi. Entering the eighth, Taniguchi had permitted just five hits. Not a single Owl had reached third base until Docktor’s blast.
“She pitched a heck of a game,” Raiders coach Chris Shimabukuro said of Taniguchi, who fanned one and walked two. “Our defense played well. Willie gets his team ready to play. They play very disciplined softball. Keiki was dominating today. She kept us off balance.”
Docktor’s second hit of the afternoon came on an 0-1 pitch, which she parked well over the left-field fence 185 feet away. It hit the tree next to the bleachers, coming close to Owls pitching coach Stephen Carlos’ target.
“My dad told her, ‘Hit my car, Tasi!’ The last time he said that, she hit his truck,” Keiki Carlos said of the vehicle in the small parking lot.
“She hit my car before,” the pitching coach said.
Docktor’s clutch hit gives MPI some cushion as the second round begins today.
“We’ve got to work extra hard in the second round,” said Docktor, who asked to be referred to by her middle name, Ali‘itasi, rather than ‘Tasi’ or her first name, Mahina.
‘Iolani, Mid-Pacific and Punahou had completed first-round play tied for first at 7-1. A draw of straws on Sunday gave MPI a bye while ‘Iolani and Punahou played on Monday. The Raiders won that game, at ‘Iolani, 4-2.
The bye helped the Owls, Docktor and Carlos said, but it’s never a guaranteed benefit.
“It can work both ways. I felt like ‘Iolani had momentum going into today’s game after a big win (on Monday),” Quinn said. “I think it helped us. With that loss (to Punahou on Saturday), we gathered ourselves and regrouped again.”
Then came yesterday’s battle under a constant drizzle in Manoa. The Owls and Raiders had not met since the opening week of ILH play, when MPI won 7-3.
Carlos ended ‘Iolani’s eight-game win streak by mixing more changeups and inside fastballs than usual. Some advice from pitching guru Tony Sellitto went a long way.
“More changeups and more pitches off the plate,” Stephen Carlos said. “Coach Sellitto called last night and said, ‘Use more waste pitches.’ ”
Carlos struck out seven and walked none, but the Raiders gave her their share of scoring threats. Kim Souza, one of the state’s leading hitters, led off the top of the fourth and was hit by a pitch. Two outs later, Mari Fujimoto’s ground ball to second turned into a throwing error.
Souza raced home as the ball sat in foul territory for seconds before right fielder Tasha Luis-Hirata rocketed a one-hop throw in time to thwart the Raiders.
“I don’t know who made that throw, but she made a good throw. It was a bang-bang play,” Shimabukuro said.
In the seventh, Alex Masaquel doubled with one out, but Carlos got Fujimoto and Kirstyn Namba to ground out, ending another threat.
Nalani Taniguchi and Kirstyn Namba. Keiki Carlos and Kaydi Kochi. W–Carlos. L–Taniguchi.
Leading hitters–‘Iol: none. MPI: Ali’itasi Docktor 2-3, HR.
ILH DIVISION II SOFTBALL
Pac-Five 13, Saint Francis 5
Aja Keyes hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning to lead the Wolf Pack past the Saints in a playoff game to determine the first-round title.
Sofia Luczak struck out six batters for Pac-Five.
At Ala Wai Community Park
Brooke Langsi and Kelsie Hee. Sofia Luczak and Cassandra Koja. W–Luczak. L–Langsi.
Leading hitters–StF: Ashley Wagner 2-4; Rachel Carlos 2-3, 2b; Hee 2-3, 3b, 3 RBIs. P5: Quirena Natividad 3-4, 2b, RBI; Kailyn Osaki 2-3, 2 RBIs; Aja Keyes 3-3, HR, 4 RBIs; Anuhea Memea 2-3, 3 RBIs; Cassie Koja 2-3; Luczak 2-3, RBI.
OIA RED WEST SOFTBALL
Mililani 17, Leilehua 3, 5 innings
The Trojans scored 10 runs in the top of the third inning in the rout of the Mules.
At Kaala Elementary
Tiari-Jay Fernandez, Rayna Malina (5) and Amelia Ariola. Maegan Tupinio, Taezha Cordero (3), Malia Nakai (4), Tiffany Abear (5) and Jasmine Villegas. W–Fernandez. L–Tupinio.
Leading hitters–Mil: Toni Baysa 2-5; Jade Yavao-Valdez 2-4, 3 runs; Kacie Oshiro 2-4; Cheyenne Koki 2-4, 2b, 2