It was a scene all too familiar for coach Darrell Borrero and the Kaua‘i High softball team. They fell behind early when top-ranked Sacred Hearts scored three runs in the first and two in the second.
“It’s been this way throughout the tournament,” he said. “I told the girls, it’s not over till the last out.”
Scoreless Kaua‘i had to make some kind of move. After five innings, that move finally came when Wailana Borrero reached on a error and scored on Jessica Iwata’s double down the left field line.
It was then, that Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion Sacred Hearts worried that Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation champs Kaua‘i would make one of its signature comebacks.
“We saw what they did to Maryknoll and we went a string of scoreless innings against them,” said Sacred Hearts head coach Wade Okamura. “We were very cautious pitching to them.”
Hoping not to buckle under the pressure, pitcher Joslyn Eugenio made sure her teammates stayed on their toes.
“We knew what they were capable of,” Eugenio said. “Our coaches told us that five runs just wasn’t enough to hold Kaua‘i. We just had to step up our defense at that point to hold them down.”
Hold them down they did, finishing Kaua‘i off in a very quick seventh inning on two groundouts and a strike out.
With the 5-1 win, Sacred Hearts earned its fourth state title since Division II’s inception. University High, St. Francis and Pac-Five were the other ILH state championship teams.
Eugenio earned the win, allowing only three hits and striking out three.
None of the Kaua‘i girls shed a tear, however — they were just happy to have made it to the big game.
“We were down this whole entire tournament, but we came through,” said shortstop Iwata.
Borrero, the senior pitcher who scored Kaua‘i’s lone run, was excited to have played and scored.
“We made it to the finals and I’m happy,” she said. “I’m proud of our girls.”
While Kaua‘i could only muster one run on three hits, Sacred Hearts scored five on 11 hits.