Molokai wraps up MIL D-II overall softball title
KAHULUI – The Molokai and Hana high school softball teams are survivors.
The Farmers (7-3) proved to be the ultimate survivors Saturday by winning the Maui Interscholastic League overall D-II championship with a 13-3, six-inning victory over the Dragons (5-5) in the league tournament final.
Both teams will be rewarded with shorter-than-usual trips to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II state tournament April 30 to May 3 at Patsy Mink Field on the Maui High campus.
Amanda Venegas-Makaiwi, one of three seniors on the Molokai roster and the only four-year player, pitched a six-hitter with six strikeouts and four walks against Hana.
“It’s pretty awesome because this is my senior year,” Venegas-Makaiwi said. “We were determined to win this and I have got to say that we have heart.”
A state softball tournament will be held off of Oahu for the third time ever and the first time since it was at War Memorial Complex in 1981.
Both teams advanced to Saturday’s league tournament final with remarkable comebacks the previous day.
Molokai scored three times in the bottom of the seventh on Friday to beat Lanai 7-6, walking off with the win on Khaylie Adachi’s RBI double that landed when three Pine Lasses collided.
Hana’s comeback was more dramatic as the Dragons scored nine runs in the final two innings, including seven in the bottom of the seventh, to beat Seabury Hall 9-8.
“Hana’s a good team, but we battled all day today,” said Venegas-Makaiwi, who plans to walk on to the team at Grand Canyon University in the fall.
“All I can say is, ‘You have got to have heart’ and our team got plenty heart.”
Hana scored a run in the top of the first inning Saturday, but Molokai came right back with three in the bottom half. The Farmers boosted the lead to 7-1 with four runs in the second and then ended the game on the 10-run mercy rule with two runs in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Two weeks ago, they were stuck in the middle of the standings at 3-3.
“We really developed,” Molokai coach Coco Augustiro said. “We played our first game against Seabury and it was really sloppy, but comparing us now from then, it is a really new team.”
The Farmers had a week to practice with their full roster before MIL play began because some players were finishing up with wrestling and paddling from the winter season.
“I think we got our lineup finally down,” Augustiro said. “We never did have a straight starting nine from the start, but I think we finally got it down in the MIL tournament.”
The rally against Lanai gave Molokai confidence on Saturday.
“That was a really good comeback against Lanai,” Augustiro said. “That was a really brutal game.”
The Farmers had 14 hits Saturday, led by Tai Yamamoto’s 4-for-4 day that included three RBIs. Kysha Kawano smacked a double and a triple.
“They are really excited for states,” Augustiro said of her players. “Last year was the only year out of the five years that I have been coaching that we didn’t make it. For our freshmen, it will be a really good experience. It is a really young team we have.”
The Dragons gathered for team photos with the Farmers, smiles all around with their MIL silver medals around their necks.
“Molokai is a good team, no doubt about it,” Hana coach Louis Hoopai said. “I love it that we are coming back here for states. At least now, we will get better support.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Jaynalee Hoopai and Breeze Kalalau; Amanda Venegas-Makaiwi and Karlie Martin-Galam. W-Venegas-Makaiwi. L-Hoopai. 2B-Hana: Nahe Kapoi-Smith; Molokai: Venegas-Makaiwi, Kysha Kawano, Lucy Wilhelm. 3B-Molokai: Kawano.
Leading hitters-Hana: Brittany Smith 2-2, RBI. Molokai: Tai Yamamoto 4-4, run, 3 RBIs; Venegas-Makaiwi 2-3, 2 runs, 3 RBIs; Kawano 2-3, RBI.