LAHAINA - The most pivotal softball game of the Maui Interscholastic League Division I regular season - and perhaps a few seasons - will live another day.
Monday, to be precise.
The Lahainaluna and Baldwin high school teams went back and forth - four lead changes and two ties, to be exact - and ended in darkness at the Lunas' no-lights, on-campus field tied at 6-6 one batter in to the ninth inning on Wednesday.
Baldwin High School's Lyana Bermudez rounds third base and slaps hands with coach Steve Morton after Bermudez smacked a three-run homer. The game is tied at 6-6 in the top of the ninth and will resume from there on Monday.
The Maui News / ROB COLLIAS photo
Lahainaluna's Hope Morikawa has allowed eight hits in eight-plus innings and was 3-for-3 with two doubles at the plate.
The Maui News / ROB COLLIAS photo
The regular-season title and a state berth is on the line in the game that will pick up where it left off at 4:30 p.m. Monday at the Lunas' field.
Lahainaluna is currently 9-1, while Baldwin is 9-2 in the 12-game regular season, and this game will break an 1-1 tie in head-to-head play.
"Cannot expect any less from two teams that come out to play the game," Lahainaluna coach Lei Nakamura said as her seven seniors ran the bases on senior day festivities in near complete darkness. "I'm sure everybody works really hard in what they do, so I expected this and I prepared my girls to expect that. I told them: 'This is not going to be a walk in the park because that is a great team over there.' ''
Baldwin coach Steve Morton concurred.
"Back and forth, a couple passed balls, missed base running on our part, and they did the same to us, so it's the person who makes the least errors who is probably going to pull out the game," Morton said.
The Bears took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on Kylie Rose Dickson's towering home run over the 10-foot high left-field fence, 200 feet away. The shot flew past a few cars parked in the behind the fence.
The Lunas immediately struck back for a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first when Jessica Wallace smacked a two-run single to left after Hope Morikawa doubled to the left-field fence and Haley Nakamura walked.
The Bears took the lead right back in the top of the second on RBI singles by Kawena Cabrera and Sky Ellazar.
The Lunas tied the game at 3-3 in the fourth when Lyla Talaroc-Kaniho singled to lead off, was sacrificed to second and then scored on a pair of wild pitches.
The Bears, who broke an eight-game losing streak to the Lunas in their last meeting, appeared to have control after Lyana Bermudez smoked a three-run homer over the right-center field wall in the fifth.
"Very big home runs for us," Morton said. "We are hitting the ball well. We just have to talk more in the outfield."
The Lunas, however, tied the game again with three runs in the bottom of the sixth on Morikawa's two-run double and Wallace's RBI single.
Both Morikawa and Baldwin pitcher Sanae Nakoa went the distance and had their moments as numerous runners were stranded in several different innings.
"It's not over until it's over. So no matter what, we have to fight until the end," Lei Nakamura said.
An overflow crowd of about 500 crammed around the field.
"(Monday) is going to be exciting,"Morton said. "I hope everybody shows up."
(Game suspended due to darkness)
|Baldwin||120 030 00||—||6||8||2|
|Lahainaluna||200 103 00||—||6||11||2|
Sanae Nakoa and Sarah Abe; Hope Morikawa and Jessica Wallace.
2B-Lahainaluna: Morikawa 2, Wallace. HR-Baldwin: Kylie Rose Dickson, Lyana Bermudez.
Leading hitters-Baldwin: Kawena Cabrera 3-4, RBI. Lahainaluna: Morikawa 3-3, 2 RBIs; Wallace 2-5, 3 RBIs.