Lunas take MIL title

Gerbig scores on wild pitch in seventh to give Lahainaluna 3-2 victory over Baldwin

Lahainaluna High School’s Mia Gerbig slides home with the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning of the Lunas’ 3-2 victory over Baldwin in the MIL Division I overall championship game Tuesday night at Patsy Mink Field. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

KAHULUI — It was only fitting that Mia Gerbig was the runner who dove in with the championship run for the Lahainaluna High School softball team on Tuesday night at Patsy Mink Field.

Gerbig is one of just two seniors on a squad that struggled to gather enough players to field a team this season, but she delivered the winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Baldwin 3-2 in a winner-take-all championship game for the Maui Interscholastic League Division I title.

“In the beginning we were struggling,” Gerbig said. “My coach told me that any passed ball, be ready to go.”

The Lunas (10-5) claimed their second straight MIL pennant with the win, while the Bears (13-2) will make their first state tournament appearance since 2015 despite a loss in the final inning to their nemesis for the second game in a row.

On the play before the winning run scored, Liliola Vehikite, the Lunas’ only other senior, was forced out at home plate with the bases loaded on a bunt by Kaaina Kalanikau.

Lunas shortstop Nohili Hong tags out Baldwin’s Saree-Ann Kekahuna as she tries to steal second base in the fourth inning.

The Lunas left runners at third base to end four of their first six innings.

“As soon as I seen that passed ball, I was ready.” Gerbig said. “I think as a team we did a great job.”

Lahainaluna forced the overall championship game with a 6-4, eight-inning win over Baldwin on Friday in the MIL tournament final.

“These girls did such an awesome job, I’m so proud of them,” Lahainaluna coach Lei Nakamura said while fighting back tears. “We left more than a few on this base and that was the talk from the first inning, that we’re leaving too much runners on base, so we’ve got to execute a little bit more.”

Twice this season, the Lunas were forced to forfeit MIL games due to a lack of available players. They had just five consistent attendees at offseason workouts and two would-be starters decided not to play this year.

Lahainaluna head coach Lei Nakamura and assistant coach Shan Tsutsui celebrate Tuesday’s win.

“We came back, we fought back,” Gerbig said. “I’m so proud of them. Hands down to my coaches, they put in all their work.”

Said Nakamura: “Very proud of these kids, they are truly the meaning of perseverance.”

Baldwin took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI triple by Alyssa Ferreira.

It stayed that way until the Lunas tied it in the fifth when Nohili Hong got caught in a rundown between first and second base, allowing Gerbig to score.

Lahainaluna took a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Seraya Casco scampered home on an error.

Baldwin’s Jessica Ai launches a home run in the seventh inning.

Baldwin tied it at 2-2 when Jessica Ai homered for the third straight game, leading off the top of the seventh with a towering shot to center field.

These types of games may be repeated in the future. Like the Lunas, the Bears have just two seniors.

“Great program, Lahainaluna has a great program, great coaching staff,” Baldwin coach Sanoe Kekahuna said. “They came out to play. We did too, as well. It didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but it was a really great game.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

Baldwin 010 000 1–2 9 3

The Lunas’ Seraya Casco pitches in the fourth inning.

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Aliya Harmon and Saree-Ann Kekahuna; Seraya Casco and Briann Keohuloa. W–Casco. L–Harmon. 2B–Lahainaluna: Liliola Vehikite. 3B–Baldwin: Alyssa Ferreira. HR–Baldwin: Jessica Ai.

Leading hitters–Baldwin: Kekahuna 2-3; Sammy Martinez 2-3, run; Bryana Yoshida 2-3.