Harmon, Bears down Sabers

Sophomore pitcher fans eight, hits two-run homer in MIL season opener

Baldwin High School’s Aliya Harmon pitches in the third inning of the Bears’ victory over Maui High on Saturday at Patsy Mink Field. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

KAHULUI — Aliya Harmon couldn’t wait to call her sister. Before she could make it to the exit of Patsy Mink Field, her family members already had Kaylee Harmon on FaceTime from Monmouth, Ore.

Aliya Harmon allowed one hit and struck out eight in three innings, smacked a two-run homer and scored twice for her Baldwin High School softball team in an 18-3, four-inning, season-opening win over Maui High on Saturday.

“I’m going to tell her that we won, that my team backed me up, and we did great,” said Aliya Harmon, a sophomore. “And I had my first home run of the season.”

Kaylee Harmon, a former Lahainaluna standout who played last year at Western Oregon University before deciding to sit out this season, already had the full story before her younger sister could get to the phone.

“We can be great,” Aliya Harmon said. “I think we can win states this year.”

Maui High catcher Makana Nakanishi comes down with a high throw from the outfield in time to tag out Baldwin’s Sammy Martinez in the third inning Saturday. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The Bears have not been to the state tournament since winning the 2015 Maui Interscholastic League title.

Harmon will clearly be a big part of the Baldwin plan this season –the Sabers’ first eight outs Saturday were via strikeout. The only hit that Harmon surrendered was a three-run, inside-the-park home run by Destiny Kama.

“She did awesome today,” Baldwin coach Sanoe Kekahuna said. “She did exactly what we as coaches tell her to do. She came out, she played hard for her team, that’s all we can expect of her.”

The Bears piled up 16 hits –Sasha Tanoue-Kekona and Alyssa Ferreira combined to go 5-for-5 in the top spot in the lineup, Sammy Martinez was 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, and Jessica Ai was 2-for-2 with a double and three RBIs.

“I had a lot of confidence, I believe in my team,” Harmon said. “The home run, that boosted my confidence.”

The Bears’ Siena DeCambra hits an RBI single in the third inning. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Maui High — which has reached the state tournament the last two years — has a different look this season with new head coach Erick Rivera presiding over a young team that lost shortstop Nawai Kaupe to graduation and 2016 MIL Player of the Year Cira Bartolotti, a junior pitcher who transferred to Kapolei at the beginning of the school year.

The Sabers started three freshmen and two sophomores on Saturday.

“They’re sound, they have good fundamentals, a good team,” Rivera said of the Bears. “We’re young, we have two freshmen pitchers, so we just have to work on it as the season progresses.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com

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Aliya Harmon (right) is congratulated by Baldwin teammate Avei Silifaiva after her two-run homer in the third. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Baldwin 337 5–18 16 2

Maui High 003 0– 3 1 2

Aliya Harmon, Kacey Sakamoto (4) and Avei Silifaiva; Tori Honokaupu and Makana Nakanishi. W–Harmon. L–Honokaupu. 2B–Baldwin: Sammy Martinez, Jessica Ai. 3B–Baldwin: Shalei Awai. HR–Baldwin: Harmon; Maui High: Destiny Kama.

Leading hitters–Baldwin: Sasha Tanoue-Kekona 2-2, 2 runs; Alyssa Ferreira 3-3, run, 2 RBIs; Harmon 2-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Silifaiva 2-2, 4 runs; Martinez 3-3, run, 2 RBIs; Ai 2-2, 3 RBIs; Siena DeCambra 2-2, run, 2 RBIs.

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MIL STANDINGS

Division I

W L Pct. GB

Baldwin 1 0 1.000 —

Kamehameha Maui 1 0 1.000 —

Lahainaluna 0 0 .000 1⁄2

King Kekaulike 0 1 .000 1

Maui High 0 1 .000 1

Division II

W L Pct. GB

Hana 0 0 .000 —

Molokai 0 0 .000 —

Lanai 0 0 .000 —

Saturday’s Results

Baldwin 18, Maui High 3, 4 innings

Kamehameha Maui 16, King Kekaulike 8

Wednesday’s Games

Kamehameha Maui at Maui High, 4 p.m.

Baldwin vs. Lahainaluna at Maui High, 6 p.m.

Friday’s Game

Molokai at Hana, 4 p.m.

Saturday, March 10

Kamehameha Maui at Lahainaluna, 10 a.m.

King Kekaulike at Maui High, 10 a.m.

Molokai at Hana, 10 a.m.

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