Harmon’s all-around play helps Bears down Na Alii

Baldwin High School pitcher Kacey Sakamoto releases a pitch during the Bears’ 9-2 victory over King Kekaulike on Wednesday afternoon at Patsy Mink Field. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

KAHULUI — It’s not surprising that Baldwin High School junior Aliya Harmon looked a little tired after Wednesday’s game.

After pitching, hitting and playing defense, Harmon produced five RBIs at the plate and threw two innings in the circle to lead the Bears’ softball team to a 9-2 win over King Kekaulike at Patsy Mink Field.

“She did exactly what we needed her to do today, which was do defense, have a few good hits, and when we needed her to pitch, she did exactly that,” Baldwin coach Sanoe Kekahuna said. “Having her play, period, is important for all of us.”

After no hits or runs in the first inning, Harmon smacked a three-run double in the top of the second to give the Bears a 4-0 lead. Then during the fourth, she popped the ball to left field for a two-run double to make it 6-0.

When it was her turn to take the ball, she didn’t let up. Taking over in relief of starter Kacey Sakamoto in the fifth, Harmon allowed one run on three hits while striking out three in two innings.

Aliya Harmon of Baldwin smiles after the Bears’ win.

“It was good,” Harmon said of her all-around performance. “I’ve been hitting at practice, not my best. So that kind of boosted my confidence for this next game.”

Sakamoto, Harmon and Jordyn Vierra, who pitched the seventh, held Na Alii to five hits and a walk while striking out nine.

In the bottom of the fourth, Lia Castillo made a great catch in right field of a pop-up by Ashley Gamble. A run scored on the play, but the catch helped the Bears keep the momentum and improve to 3-2 in Maui Interscholastic League play.

“We did exactly what we’ve been working on,” Kekahuna said. “There are a few things we need to fine-tune, but I believe my players did exactly what we wanted them to do. Today, they seemed like they had a little more fun, which is a good thing, that’s what we’re looking for.”

King Kekaulike’s Lehua Jimenez led her team from the plate, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Gamble pitched seven innings and drove in both Na Alii’s runs.

Kekaulike catcher Lehua Jimenez looses control of the ball while trying to tag out Baldwin’s Siena DeCambra in the sixth inning Wednesday.

“They are a tough team,” King Kekaulike coach David Rapanot said of the Bears. “Everybody in the league is kind of around the same caliber and it depends on who makes the first mistake.”

Baldwin and King Kekau­like (1-4) face Lahainaluna in their next league games — the Bears on Saturday and Na Alii next Wednesday. The defending MIL champion Lunas remained undefeated this season with a 5-3 win over Kamehameha Maui in Wednesday’s nightcap at Mink Field.

In their first meeting this season, the Lunas overcame a grand slam to rally past the Bears 13-11.

“I’m excited. I’m confident,” Harmon said. “We worked on our defense from the previous time we’ve played them. We just got to keep our hitting up, pitching, defense because one mistake, that could cost us the game.”

* Dakota Grossman is a dgrossman@mauinews.com.

The Bears’ Aliya Harmon follows through on a two-run double in the fourth.

Baldwin 040 203 0–9 10 0

King Kekaulike 000 101 0–2 5 1

Kacey Sakamoto, Aliya Harmon (5), Jordyn Vierra (7) and Saree-Ann Kekahuna, Ihilani Abilay (5); Ashley Gamble and Lehua Jimenez. W–Sakamoto. L–Gamble. 2B–Baldwin: Harmon 2, Dasha Opupele, Lia Castillo. 3B–Baldwin: LB Kekona; King Kekaulike: Jimenez, Gamble.

Leading hitters–Baldwin: Harmon 2-3, 5 RBIs; Opupele 1-3, run, 2 RBIs; Avei Silifaiva 2 runs. King Kekaulike: Jimenez 2-3, 2 runs; Gamble 1-3, 2 RBIs.

LAHAINALUNA 5, KAMEHAMEHA MAUI 3

KS Maui 111 000 0–3 7 2

Lahainaluna 000 104 x–5 2 3

Jerriah Solomon, Melia Kama (4), Piikea Keahi (6) and Kama, Kanoe Kahahane (4), Kama (6). Sereya Casco and Leimamo Arruda, Briann Keohuloa (5). W–Casco. L–Kama. 2B–Kamehameha Maui: Solomon.

Leading hitter–Kamehameha Maui: Solomon 2-4, RBI.

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