WAIMEA — Shana Tafiti finished 1-1 as the Waimea High School Menehune controlled the visiting Lahainaluna Lunas 12-2 Friday.
With the Menehune sitting on a 12-2 lead going into the fifth inning, the Waimea coaches cleared the benches sending Tafiti into the field at first base.
Tafiti, who starred at shortstop for the Waimea High School softball team, was apprehensive about playing earlier in the week at the school’s career day.
“I don’t think they’re going to let me play,” she said in her modest manner. “But, who knows? Maybe I’ll get lucky.”
Fans who had gathered on the Waimea side of the athletic field to watch the Friday game kept an eye on Tafiti. As she went through the warm-ups with her teammates, deep in each heart was the spark of seeing her play.
Tafiti, a transfer from Kaua’i High School where she also played softball, had tried out for the baseball team following the softball season, and through the weeks that followed, there were the murmurs of “Shana survived” at events held at the Clem Gomes Gym.
On her first trot onto the baseball diamond, Tafiti was flawless in her performance at first base as the Menehune continued to control the Lunas.
Her first swing came up empty. But, then Tafiti made contact on a single only to be one of two Menehune left on-base in the fifth inning.
Her next trip was out to right field, where she stayed to end the Menehune victory.
After discussions with several coaches and athletic directors, no one would confirm whether or not a girl has ever played baseball in the KIF, or at the HHSAA level. But everyone seems to agree that Tafiti might be the first in the KIF as well as in the state. Jessica Iwata, a Kaua’i High School freshman who was a KIF softball all-star at shortstop, had tried to make the cut for the Red Raider baseball squad after she made AJA history by being the first girl to play for that league in the state last year.
However, her efforts fell short this year.