LIHU’to Waimea, on their way E — Don’t ever count them out again. At the beginning of the season, almost everyone counted the Kaua’i softball team out of contention and after an early loss the Red Raiders ran the table to a second straight KIF championship with a 12-0 win over Kapa’a last night at Isenberg Field.
“That loss (against Waimea) was actually good for us. We came together after that. Everybody counted us out, but we played together as a family,” Kaua’i head coach Jacque Inouye said.
The Red Raiders, who won their seventh straight game, were once again led on the mound by their freshman ace, Wailana Borrero, who pitched a three hit shutout (five strikeouts) and battled despite the passing of her grandfather, John Bandmann Sr.
“I knew we needed to win and my grand-pa died, so I tried to dedicate the season to him,” Borrero said as tears rolled down her cheeks.
Inouye also noticed a change from Borrero after that first loss against Waimea on December 7.
“She matured after that and she came through for us. She’s not afraid,” Inouye said.
The win cemented the Red Raiders a birth into the Division II State Softball Championships, from Feb. 1-4 on O’ahu.
Last season, Kaua’i participated in the much tougher division I state tournament, but to Inouye, it won’t make that big of a difference to play in division II.
“We still have to go out and play our best and our expectations are really high, so we should do fine,” Inouye said.
Speaking of expectations, the bar was raised for the Warriors, who buried Waimea on Saturday in a doubleheader and challenged Kaua’i all the way up until the end of the contest last night.
Kapa’a stayed with the Red Raiders through the first five innings, but Kaua’i exploded for seven runs in the sixth inning, which ended the game due to the 10-run rule.
Borrero helped herself out at the plate in the first inning with an RBI groundout, which scored Jessica Iwata for the 1-0.
Kapa’a pitcher Stephanie Kawamura and girls behind her played tough through the early innings, as Kaua’i could only muster up five runs through five innings.
Cherisse Simeona cracked an RBI single, scoring Koga for the second run and Randi Oketani’s RBI groundout scored Darcie Allianic for the 3-0 bulge.
Kapa’a’s Jocelyn Enrique broke up Borrero’s no-hit bid with a single, but the Warriors weren’t able to bring her home.
Allianic ripped an RBI single, scoring Iwata and Allianic then scored on an error, giving Kaua’i a 5-0 lead.
Kapa’a threatened in the sixth, as Maka Ferreira and Loke Manaku tallied singles, but with the bases juiced, the Warriors failed to capitalize.
Robin Jose started out the sixth inning for the Red Raiders with an RBI single, scoring Koga, and Simeona crossed the plate on an error, which increased the lead to 7-0.
Allianic slammed a 2-RBI triple, scoring Jose and Iwata, for the 9-0 advantage, but Kaua’i wasn’t done, as Borrero and Allianic crossed home plate, thanks to a Ku’ulei Manintin inside-the-park homerun for the 12-0 win.
KIF softball has a pair of games to go on Saturday, as the Red Raiders battle Waimea at Waimea Canyon Field, starting at 10 a.m.
- Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or firstname.lastname@example.org.