Bears stay perfect, deal Lunas first loss
KAHULUI – As a sophomore at Baldwin High School, Cierra Pagaduan is fairly new to the Bears’ Maui Interscholastic League softball rivalry with Lahainaluna.
She played like a veteran, however, on Monday night in the Bears’ 5-2 win at Patsy Mink Field.
With the score tied 2-2 with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, Pagaduan smacked a towering solo home run to left field to give Baldwin (2-0) a lead it would not relinquish. Her RBI triple on one bounce to the center-field wall in the sixth accounted for the final margin.
“I was just expecting to get on base,” Pagaduan said of the homer. “It felt good, I felt confident in my swing.”
Pagaduan hit two homers in a scrimmage against Lanai on Saturday after Baldwin’s game with Lahainaluna (2-1) was postponed by rain until Monday.
“I felt like I made my team proud,” Pagaduan said.
After Pagaduan’s homer, freshman Nawai Kaupe singled to right, stole second and scored on a double to left by Kamalani Eldredge. Pagaduan’s triple in the sixth scored Sky Ellazar.
It was enough for Baldwin pitcher Sanae Nakoa. The returning MIL Division I Player of the Year allowed single runs in the first two innings, including a home run by Lithe Pokipala-Waiohu in the second.
Nakoa tossed a four-hitter, permitting only one hit in the final four innings – a double by Tobi Bonifacio leading off the seventh. Na-koa struck out three batters and walked two.
“I was confident that we would come back because we have a really good defense and I knew that they had my back when I was on the mound, so I was pretty confident,” Nakoa said. “After Cierra’s home run, I was 100 percent confident.”
The Bears pulled off double plays in the fifth and seventh innings. The first came when Nakoa snagged a line drive off the bat of Ari Badua and caught Tracy Panlasigui off of first base. The second came when Kaylee Harmon flew out to Gabriela Alonso in right field for the first out of the seventh and then Alonso threw out Bonifacio at third base.
“(Defense) is very important,” Pagaduan said. “(Nakoa) is working very hard on the mound and we have to back her up as a team.”
Lahainaluna took a 1-0 lead in the first when Rhyn Lendio singled, took third on an error and scored on a groundout by Ryah Kaniho.
Baldwin made it 2-1 on Ellazar’s RBI double in the second and tied the game on Eldredge’s RBI single in the third. Taylor Asio was cruising along in the circle until then.
“Taylor is a good pitcher and she really gave us hard rubs, but we made contact on the ball,” Nakoa said. “We both played a good game.”
The Bears and Lunas both represented the MIL at last year’s state tournament.
“We play them two more times and probably three, including the (MIL) tournament,” said Baldwin coach Steve Morton. “They come to play, real well. Taylor did a hell of a job on the mound with us in the beginning. We left a lot of stranded runners.”
Morton was happy to see Pagaduan at the plate in her late-inning opportunities.
“Cierra has been tagging balls,” Morton said.
Lahainaluna coach Lei Nakamura was encouraged by her team’s outing.
“Just because we took the lead in the beginning, we didn’t relax,” Nakamura said. “We just couldn’t hold on to it. With my young team, that’s what we are trying to do – when we finally get something going, we have to learn how to hold on to it. It is just more playing time, more game experience.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Lahainaluna …110 …000 …0-2 …4 …2
Baldwin ……….011 …201 ….x-5 …6 …3
Taylor Asio, Kaylee Harmon (6) and Mele Pasikala. Sanae Nakoa and Sky Ellazar. W-Nakoa. L-Asio. 2B-Lahainaluna: Tobi Bonifacio; Baldwin: Ellazar, Kamalani Eldredge. 3B-Baldwin: Cierra Pagaduan. HR-Lahainaluna: Lithe Pokipala-Waiohu; Baldwin: Pagaduan.
Leading hitters-Lahainaluna: Pokipala-Waiohu 2-3, run, RBI. Baldwin: Pagaduan 2-4, run, 2 RBIs; Eldredge 2-3, 2 RBIs