Mid-Pacific appeared to put Castle away once.
Faced with having to do it again, the second time the Owls made sure.
In a game featuring wild weather and even wilder momentum swings in the late innings, Mid-Pacific captured its first state softball championship with a 10-4 win over Castle last night at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
The Owls scratched out two runs early and added two more late to give ace Keiki Carlos some breathing room. But a Castle lineup that thrived on comebacks throughout the DataHouse/HHSAA Division I State Softball Championship scored four in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings.
The Owls responded with a six-run rally in the top of the eighth and this time Carlos — backed by solid defense on a soggy field for most of the night — made it stand up in the bottom of the inning, ending the game with her ninth strikeout of the game.
Carlos, locked in a pitcher’s duel with Castle’s Leisha Liilii for most of the evening, was in control until the Knights’ seventh-inning rally, and earned her third complete-game win of the tournament.
The Owls, who run-ruled their first two tournament opponents, took advantage of shaky Castle defense to take a 2-0 lead and appeared to put the game out of reach with two more in the seventh on Kacy Aoki’s two-run single.
Carlos gave up a single to Liilii in the first, then retired 10 consecutive hitters and was seemingly in control heading into the seventh.
But Castle, as it had throughout the tournament, refused to wilt and broke through in the bottom of the inning on Kalena Lessary’s RBI single.
Brittney Lane walked to load the bases with one out and Christin Tesoro’s grounder was muffed to bring in Castle’s second run. Brittany Hawn then lined a two-run single into left field to tie the game.
MPI extended the game with a line-out double play, forcing extra innings.
Tasha Luis-Hirata singled with one out and evaded the tag on Lindsey Matoi’s fielder’s choice bouncer to second. With two runners on, Castle coach Jon Berinobis brought in Maycee Moe to relieve Liilii. After a wild pitch advanced the runners, Tasi Docktor walked to load the bases.
Kochi then broke the tie with a looping single into short center. Matoi beat the throw to the plate on a Carlos grounder and Jordan Joy’s bases-loaded bunt scored MPI’s third run of the inning. Aoki then drove in her third run of the game with a single to right before the game was halted by rain for the second time.
When play resumed Gaby Hollinger was hit by a pitch to force in a run and Tori Hamura executed MPI’s second squeeze play of the inning to push the lead to 10-4.
Carlos capped the season with two more strikeouts and the Owls could finally celebrate.
HHSAA DIVISION I
Campbell 9, Leilehua 1
The Sabers clinched third place in the state with a win over the Mules.
Brandee Ho pitched a complete game while Campbell’s Taylor Rosa-Ramon sparked the offense with a double and two RBIs.
Brandee Ho and Jaycelyn Kim. Maegan Tupinio, Malia Nakai (6) and Jasmine Villegas. W—Ho. L—Tupinio.
Kailua 2, Punahou 2, tie
The Surfriders and the Buffanblu can each claim the consolation championship after they tied due to time constraints.
Reina Furuya blasted a home run for Punahou, while Jayna Hanawahine answered with one for Kailua.
At Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
Shealee Koki, Destinee Chang (6) and Sharla Kumai-Farrell. Jaci Young, Kacie Kiyuna (5) and Kayla Shimoda.
MID-PACIFIC 10, CASTLE 4
E—Liilii, Kaululaau, Vlachos 2, Hamura. DP—Mid-Pacific 1 (Docktor-Hamura). LOB—Mid-Pacific 12, Castle 5. HBP—Hollinger (by Moe). SH—Hollinger, Kd. Kochi, Joy, Hamura. SB—Kd. Kochi.
HBP—Moe (Hollinger). WP—Liilii, Moe. PB—Dacosin.