Asio strikes out 15 in shutout of Sabers

Lahainaluna High School’s Taylor Asio delivers a pitch in the third inning of the Lunas’ 2-0 victory over Maui High on Thursday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Lahainaluna High School’s Taylor Asio delivers a pitch in the third inning of the Lunas’ 2-0 victory over Maui High on Thursday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

KAHULUI — Lahainaluna High School pitcher Taylor Asio admitted she felt a bit of anxiety going into Thursday’s matchup with Maui High.

She sure seemed to shake it off quickly.

Asio struck out 15 batters in a three-hitter, and the Lunas edged the Sabers 2-0 at Patsy Mink Field, becoming the only unbeaten team left in Maui Interscholastic League Division I softball this year.

“I knew they were a really good team, so I was a bit more nervous, I guess you could put it,” Asio said of going against the reigning MIL champions.

Asio walked Maui High leadoff batter Kaimi Lay-Fuentes, but then retired 13 of the next 14 batters she faced — nine by strikeout.

Maui High third baseman Kaimi Lay-Fuentes looks a runner back to first base after fielding a popped-up bunt as catcher Kaycee Arase looks on Thursday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Maui High third baseman Kaimi Lay-Fuentes looks a runner back to first base after fielding a popped-up bunt as catcher Kaycee Arase looks on Thursday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Lahainaluna (3-0), which has been to the last seven state tournaments, scored both its runs in the sixth inning. Nohili Hong’s sacrifice fly brought in Kiani Motooka, and Daisha Dagdag scored from second base as the throw in got loose in the infield.

“I told them we had to take advantage sooner or later, or we’ll never have a chance,” said Lunas assistant coach Joe Keanini, who was serving as head coach because Lei Nakamura was on the Mainland. “I think they did their job. We had the right runners on base — we had the quick ones on base.”

The Sabers’ Cira Bartolotti, last season’s MIL Player of the Year, pitched a four-hitter, striking out four batters and walking none.

“I knew it was going to be a pitching duel,” said Maui High coach Mark Lau Hee, whose team fell to 3-1 — the Lunas and Sabers are to meet twice more in the regular season, with the next game scheduled for March 25 in Lahaina. “That’s how the game’s going to be. It’s going to be just one, two runs, and that’s going to be the game.”

Asio gave up singles in each of the final two innings, but neither runner got past first base.

“There is some relaxation because there’s two runs on the board, but I know I still have to play the game I know, because it’s still a close game,” she said.

* Brad Sherman is at sports@mauinews.

Lahainaluna 000 002 0–2 4 0

Maui High 000 000 0–0 3 2

Taylor Asio and Braylee Tovio-Asato. Cira Bartolotti and Kaycee Arase. W–Asio. L–Bartolotti.

MIL Standings

DIVISION I

W L Pct GB

Lahainaluna 3 0 1.000 —

Maui High 3 1 .750 1⁄2

Baldwin 1 2 .333 2

King Kekaulike 1 2 .333 2

Kamehameha Maui 0 3 .000 3

Thursday’s Result

Lahainaluna 2, Maui High 0

Saturday’s Games

King Kekaulike vs. Lahainaluna at Patsy Mink Field, 10 a.m.

Kamehameha Maui vs. Baldwin at Patsy Mink Field, noon

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