Lunas defeat Sabers 1-0 in eight innings
KAHULUI – The Lahainaluna High School softball team is 28-2 against Maui Interscholastic League opponents in the last two-plus seasons.
That doesn’t stop Maui High’s Ani Ohigashi from pitching tough against the league’s two-time defending Division I champions.
The Lunas scrapped for a run in the top of the eighth against Ohigashi and returning MIL Player of the Year Hope Morikawa made it stand up for a 1-0 win Saturday at Patsy Mink Field.
Rhyn Lendio singled home Jessica Wallace with one out in the top of the first extra inning – Wallace had led off with a double.
“I was thinking, ‘Just hit the ball,’ because we needed a run,” Lendio said. “There was sort of a lot of pressure, but I knew that I could do it.”
Lahainaluna coach Lei Nakamura had the player she wanted at the plate in the pitchers’ duel.
“Always,” said Nakamura, whose team improved to 2-0. “This girl, when you talk about having a calm mentality up there, no matter what happens, you can pretty much count on Rhyn.”
Courtney Lau Hee led off the bottom of the eighth for the Sabers (0-3) with a single and was sacrificed to second base by Micheala Bulger.
Morikawa then struck out Jaycin Spencer and got a game-ending ground ball from Kuulei Bailey to finish the third straight 1-0 game between the teams.
Ohigashi, a junior, has been the pitcher for Maui High in each of those games, including an upset in the semifinals of the MIL tournament last season.
“We are always up for them, they are a good team,” Sabers coach Bobby Medeiros said of the Lunas. “Like I told the girls: ‘If we bring our practice to the game, we can compete.’ We showed that today.”
Two errors by Maui High in the seventh put runners on first and second with one out, and a fly ball by Morikawa to the warning track advanced them both. Ohigashi got out of the jam by inducing Haley Nakamura to line out to first base.
“We just need to wait on the ball more because we were popping it up a lot,” said Lendio, who finished 2-for-4.
Morikawa finished with a three-hitter and did not allow a runner to reach third base.
“She’s a hard worker out there and I trust her to help us get outs,” Lendio said. “We were worried because we didn’t want the same thing to happen to us as last year.”
Ohigashi struck out three batters in a five-hitter.
“Ani pitches us tough every time,” Nakamura said. “Maui High, they actually give us one of the best games every time we play them. You guys know that. You know what? I am proud of them for what they are doing, they are a young team.”
Morikawa has allowed eight hits in 15 innings this year.
“That’s why she is our workhorse,” Nakamura said. “She just goes out there, she holds her composure. She knows her defense has got her back, so that’s why it is a little bit easier to get on that mound and do what she needs to do.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Lahainaluna ….. 000 ….. 000 ….. 01-1 ….. 5 ….. 0
Maui High ……… 000 ….. 000 ….. 00-0 ….. 3 ….. 2
Hope Morikawa and Jessica Wallace. Samantha Ohigashi and Samantha Fenton. W-Morikawa. L-Ohigashi. 2B-Lahainaluna: Wallace.