WAILUKU - The Baldwin High School bowling teams have ruled the Maui Interscholastic League for the last five seasons.
The Bears girls swept Maui High 3-0 on Wednesday to remain the only unbeaten team - male or female - in the league at 15-0. Maui High fell to 11-4.
Freshman Chaniya Silva led the way for the Baldwin girls with a 118-163-137 series, while senior Janiesse Palafox had a 126-158-121 set.
Baldwin won the three girls games by scores of 615-566, 704-521 and 617-549.
The sweep gives the Baldwin girls the inside track to their sixth straight league championship.
"We really want to keep that string going," Palafox said.
|Baldwin 3, Maui High 0|
|Lahainaluna vs. St. Anthony,|
Maui High 3, Baldwin 0
Lahainaluna vs. St. Anthony, not reported
On the boys side, the Sabers (14-1) swept the Bears (8-7) to take control of the title race.
"It felt good, my mind was focused, I didn't overthink things, I kind of relaxed and just got my head in the game," Maui High senior Lihau Fujihara said after his 128-193-167 series led the way in each game. "We wanted to get the sweep and I was thinking I have got to pull my own game.
"After that first game I realized I should step it up because I wasn't doing too good."
Maui High sophomore Brendan Baker backed up Fujihara with a 126-172-159 series. The Sabers swept the boys matches 707-611, 757-576 and 760-707.
"I think that when one of us go well we keep going," Baker said. "It brings everyone up."
Baker said there was some pressure facing a Baldwin team that won the MIL title by just two games last season.
"Baldwin has always been our biggest rival," Baker said. "Last year we lost to them by a couple games and it was so close. This year it was intense going against them, but we came out and got the sweep."
Baker said that the breathing room is nice to have going into the second half of the season.
"It does take some pressure away, but even though we are in that lead, we want to keep that lead, so we have to go as hard as possible," he said.
The Baldwin boys were led by Stuart Silva, who had a 131-109-170 series. Rory Sarceda had a high game of 156 for the Bears.
Palafox, the granddaughter of Maui bowling veteran James Palafox, said it felt good to sweep the Sabers. Stiflingly hot temperatures inside the Maui Bowling Center made it tough for all of the competitors.
"I have had better days, way better," Palafox said. "The lane conditions were tough for me today. It's super hot in there and there was a lot of oil and we don't practice on a lot of oil."
The Sabers were led by Jessica Seki, who had a 128-115-127 series, and Stephanie Imada had a 120-112-119 set.
No one was more impressive than the 4-foot-10 Silva, however.
"I just relaxed more, took my time, focused on my mark," she said. "I was a little nervous, but then I calmed down during that second game."
Palafox is the team captain and the unquestioned leader of the Bears.
"She pushes us to hit our marks, she is always yelling encouragement, just like the rest of the team," Silva said. "So we all kind of push each other to do better."
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com