WAIMEA — Joe Grace watched his granddaughter Dannalyn Tafiti get frustrated through the Kauai Interscholastic Federation softball season.
“She wants to go to college and play softball,” Grace said Friday night while tending the KJ’s food truck at the CAK home show. “But she’s just out there. She went to Oahu for a year to learn how to pitch, but she doesn’t get a chance to show — just a few innings here and there to close. And she’s not hitting well, either.”
All of that changed Saturday when Tafiti exploded into the limelight to lead Waimea to two victories over Kauai High School at the Waimea Canyon Park.
With its 17-5 and 14-4 victories, both coming in 10-run game-shortening rulings, Waimea improves to 7-2 overall and 3-0 in second round play.
Tafiti entered the spotlight early in the first game, taking over for starting pitcher Kiani Kamakea in the second inning when Waimea looked at a 6-3 Kauai threat with no outs and the Raiders pushing its third run across the plate with Kamakea issuing back-to-back walks.
To that point, Waimea gave up three runs on one hit, a bunt single and an error while Kamakea hit one batter, struck out one, and walked three.
Tafiti took the mound to finish, allowing two runs on four hits, including a double while striking out one, walking none and getting help from the Menehune defense who executed three double plays in keeping Kauai at bay.
In the batter’s box, Tafiti came up with four runs batted in on a 3-run homer and added a single as Waimea piled up 18 hits, including two homers and three doubles, in its 17 runs.
Joining Tafiti, Shania Rita added a solo homerun and two singles. Catcher Karlyee Rye Malapit added two doubles, and Starlynn Ripley added a double. Alyssa Miyamoto came up with three singles with an RBI, Saecha Padasdao-Oyamot ended with three singles with an RBI, and Keana Ratcliff-Hogan finished with two singles and two RBI.
Leeana Tamashiro, Brandy Domingo and Caysha Goias-Soares each singled.
Kyra Hirokane topped the Kauai hitting with a double in the fifth inning.
Aleigha “Red” Scovel scored twice and had a bunt single in the second inning, Caley Caires scored once and singled in the fourth frame. Tia Takasaki singled in the fifth, and Shanie Quereto singled in the first inning.
Tafiti continued her tenure in the second game, going the distance for the 14-4 win, allowing the four runs on five hits, including a homerun from Takasaki in the second, a triple from Scovel in the first, doubles from Tamee Yoshimori in the fifth and Chase Tokita in the sixth, and a single from Scovel in the fifth.
She continued to shine in the batter’s box, smacking her second homerun of the day and adding a single in the fifth inning with three RBI.
Waimea picked up its 14 runs on 10 hits, including homers from Tafiti and Domingo who conked her long ball following Tafitit in the second inning and added a single in the sixth frame.
Padasdao-Oyamot and Miyamoto doubled and Goias-Soares singled.
Kauai next faces Kapaa in a single game Wednesday at Isenberg Park staring at 5:30 p.m.