Kapaa defeats Hana in state play-in game
KAHULUI – Hana High School’s girls softball team could have given up after trailing by seven runs against Kapaa during a Data House Division II State Championship play-in game Saturday.
The Dragons, however, would not – scoring five unanswered runs and loading the bases before falling 7-5 to the Warriors at Patsy Mink Field.
“We stayed together and cheered together,” said Dragons pitcher Jaynalee Hoopai. “We told everybody to believe that they could do it and go out there and give it your all.”
It has been a tumultuous stretch for the East Maui community in the wake of Hana senior Isaiah Pu-Akima’s death in a vehicle crash on April 24.
His younger sister, Isley, and girlfriend, Hoopai, play for the Dragons’ softball team.
Hana scored a pair of runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth before making a final charge in the seventh.
Shalen-Brae Hoopai led off with a walk, and Precious Helekahi was hit by a pitch. Janie Hoopai drew another walk to load the bases for Pu-Akima. A passed ball brought in a run, and Pu-Akima walked to load the bases again.
“I was hoping it was going to be a high ball so I never have to hit it,” she joked.
Kapaa’s Kalia Kaui got the final outs to wrap up a complete game. Kaui finished with 11 strikeouts, the last ending the game.
“Hana brought their bats as they got used to our pitcher,” said Kapaa coach Aulani Kaui. “Our bats were kind of shaky but when we needed to we came through. They pulled together defensively as a team and I’m proud of them.”
Kailana Kaiminaauao hit a two-run single for the Warriors in a six-run third inning. They scored their first run in the second, off four consecutive walks.
Jaynalee Hoopai retired nine of the last 11 batters she faced, and finished with three strikeouts while allowing four hits and walking seven batters.
Hana coach Louis Hoopai was proud of his team.
“I think we did pretty good because I thought we were going to get cracks but we hung in there,” he said. “I have no regrets, that was a good season we had. Whatever we had to go through, we pulled off a good last game.”
* Chris Sugidono is at email@example.com
Kalia Kaui and Aliyah Cummings. Jaynalee Hoopai and Breeze Kalalau. W–Kaui. L-Hoopai.
Leading hitter-Kapaa: Kailana Kaiminaauao 2-3, run.