Red Raider girls fall short in play-in game

LIHUE — Kauai High School’s varsity softball team was defeated by Saint Francis of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu in Saturday’s play-in game.

The Saints topped the Red Raiders, 16-15, at Isenberg Park in Lihue.

“Our girls came out hard. They worked hard,” said Kauai head coach Elena Kealoha. “We had some unfortunate errors. Both teams worked really hard. We were short one, and that was it.”

Down one run going into the top of the sixth inning, the Red Raider girls scored three runs to take a 15-13 lead.

Junior center fielder Caley Caires and sophomore third baseman Chase Tokita both scored on wild pitches. Senior second baseman Kiani Pagador crossed home plate when freshman left fielder Tia Takasaki got a walk with the bases loaded.

Saint Francis then scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Saints senior shortstop Danielle Antolin knocked an inside-the-park home run with a runner on to tie the score, 15-15.

Two at bats later, freshman first baseman Sammie Ofoia hit a double to center field to drive in the go-ahead run.

“We’re actually a pretty good hitting team. Even though we were down 8-1, we never lost sight of the fact that we can score runs,” said Saint Francis head coach Randy Langsi. “We know we can score in bunches.”

Kauai had an 8-1 lead after the top half of the third inning. Tokita, freshman designated player Kyra Hirokane and junior shortstop Aleigha Scovel each hit singles to drive in a run to extend the Red Raiders’ lead in the third.

Saint Francis then scored six runs in the bottom of the third to close the gap, 8-7. Junior catcher Tiana Creekmur hit a double to center field to drive in two runs in that inning.

“If we just keep hitting, things will happen,” Antolin said about working out of the early deficit. “I had a lot of faith in my team. I couldn’t let them down.”

Antolin also had another inside-the-park homer in the first inning.

Later on as Kauai had a 12-8 lead going into the fifth frame, Ofoia knocked an inside-the-park grand slam to even the score, 12-12. Senior second baseman Kaitlin Santos then hit an RBI single to give the Saints a 13-12 lead.

“Definitely a total team effort. It had to be,” Langsi said. “I just told them they got to play together whatever the outcome was going to be. We had to fight, scratch and crawl back.”

“They’re a good team. There’s no giving up in that team,” Langsi added about playing against Kauai High.

While both teams scored a lot of runs, they both also committed several fielding errors that allowed the opposing offenses to score those runs. Saint Francis totaled seven errors and Kauai had five.

“It happens. They at least brought themselves up,” Kealoha said about the errors. “We just kept telling them to leave it all out on the field. As long as they did that, I’m happy.”

Kauai got their 15 runs off 16 hits and left 10 runners on base. The Red Raider girls end their season with an 8-6 overall record (8-5 KIF, 3-3 second round, 0-1 playoff).

“I was a little sad. But on the other hand, I was happy that we even got to where we are now,” said Kauai junior right fielder Shanie Quereto who hit four singles in four at bats and scored three runs. “I’m a junior, so we still have next year.”

Saint Francis also had 16 hits and left seven runners stranded. The Saints will go on to play in the DataHouse Softball Championships — Division II tournament.

KIF champions Waimea will also participate in the state tournament, which begins Tuesday.

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