The Maui News 2019 MIL Softball All-Stars
Sister, sister: Following in footsteps of siblings, Kekahuna and Horner earn MIL POY honors
Saree-Ann Kekahuna and Cahlvrie Horner are both on their way to college softball careers.
Kekahuna, the Baldwin High School catcher for the past four seasons, is headed to Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Horner, the do-everything leader for Molokai High School, will play at Everett (Wash.) Community College.
Both followed Maui Interscholastic League siblings to standout senior seasons.
Horner, who will play with her twin sister Cami at ECC, and Kekahuna, whose older sister Sanoe is the Baldwin head coach, were chosen by the league coaches as The Maui News MIL Players of the Year for their respective divisions.
Saree-Ann Kekahuna got the word from her sister, who had a standout college career at California Berkeley, that she had earned the D-I POY nod.
“She said, ‘Can I give (a reporter) your number?’ and I said, ‘For what?’ “ Saree-Ann Kekahuna said. “And she said, ‘Well, you made MIL Player of the Year’ and I was, like, ‘Oh, really?’ And she’s, like, ‘I wouldn’t have called you for just anything.’
“It’s good for me, I loved it, I was kind of shocked, I didn’t expect it.”
Kekahuna is joined on the D-I first team by Baldwin teammates Aliya Harmon, L.B. Kahahawai-Kekona and Avei Silifaiva; Lahainaluna’s Seraya Casco, Brogan Mitchell, Kaaina Kalanikau and Ocean Makekau; Maui High’s Melia Paet and Destiny Kama; and Kamehameha Maui’s Lauren Almeida and Jerriah Solomon.
It was an up-and-down season for the Bears. They gave up five runs after two were out in the bottom of the seventh of a 5-4 walk-off loss to Lahainaluna in the MIL championship game before advancing to the final four at the state tournament.
“I would say that this year was very team-oriented,” Saree-Ann Kekahuna said. “I think we failed and we did good because of our team. A big reason why we did good in states is, like you said, because it was heartbreaking in that MIL championship (game). Learning from those mistakes, little mistakes, and taking that fire with us to drive us into states really helped.”
Kekahuna, whose father also helps with the team, said this Baldwin softball unit became like family at the end of the season.
“Growing a bond with the girls was a big one for me,” she said. “I think that’s why we were so successful, getting to know each other outside of the field and then coming together and making that connection on the field really helped us. I really enjoyed this year.”
The bond between sisters clearly evolved as Saree-Ann grew up behind the plate for the Bears.
“I would have to say I wouldn’t want to play for anyone else,” Kekahuna said. “With the opportunity to be able to play under my sister, anybody would want to play under their family member. I think the one thing that I’ve grown from my freshman year to my senior year is learning her little aspects of the game from her playing side in the past, from player to coach.”
Saree-Ann added that her relationship with Sanoe is two-fold.
“A big one from my freshman year was her saying: ‘I wish I could give you my knowledge.’ It was something I couldn’t understand back then, but playing that last game in states, or my last MIL season here on Maui, it really hit me — now I know what she meant,” Saree-Ann Kekahuna said. “She’s really been awesome and I appreciate everything she does for us and our team. … Away from the field, it’s sister and sister. When we get back on the field, it’s coach to player.”
Sanoe Kekahuna is 12 years older than Saree-Ann.
“One thing she told me is to never forget where I came from,” Saree-Ann Kekahuna said. “Once I committed she said, ‘You want to make sure that place is your home, but never forget where your actual home is.’ And I’ve never forgotten.”
Cami Horner was the MIL D-II Player of the Year last season.
“That’s very cool, I wasn’t expecting it, actually,” Cahlvrie Horner said of joining her sister as Player of the Year. “It’s awesome. You know, we get on each other’s nerves, but it’s always fun playing with my sister because we just have a connection. That’s just how twins roll, I guess.”
Cahlvrie Horner made the MIL first team as a pitcher, Cami Horner as a catcher. They are joined by Molokai teammates Alaijah Pastrana, Felicity Pastrana, Kira Luuloa, and Lia-Chae Meyer. The first team is rounded out by Lanai’s Jasmine Molina, Giyana Agliam, Raquel Malacas-Leboeuf, Nyssa Barfield, Gina Anton and Micah Manuel.
MIL championship coaches Lei Nakamura of Lahainaluna and Lacey Santiago of Molokai are the league’s coaches of the year.
At the state tournament, Molokai played Radford tough in an 18-17 loss, beat Nanakuli 11-0, and then lost the consolation final 7-6 to McKinley. The Horners were batterymates all season long, including every inning the Farmers played at the state tournament.
“Me and my sister, when we’re on the mound, she’s behind the plate, we just have that connection,” Cahlvrie Horner said. “We know what to pitch, we just read the batter every time they step up to the box, and we just know what to throw.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com.
Division I Second Team
Kacey Sakamoto – Baldwin – Pitcher – Senior
Ashanti Ortiz – Maui High – Pitcher – Sophomore
Briann Keohuloa – Lahainaluna – Catcher – Sophomore
Lily Kamaunu – Lahainaluna – First base – Junior
Lexi Jade Kaalakea – Maui High – Second base – Freshman
Satsuki Dumlao – Maui High – Third base – Freshman
Nohili Hong – Lahainaluna – Shortstop – Senior
Mallorie Vaught – KS Maui – Outfield – Senior
Daisha Dagdag – Lahainaluna – Outfield – Senior
Alyssa Ferreira – Baldwin – Outfield – Junior
Jessica Ai – Baldwin – Utility/DP – Junior
Erin Prieto – Maui High – Utility/DP – Senior
Division I Honorable Mention
Baldwin–Lia Castillo, Kayla Tuaoa, Siena DeCambra, Bryana Yoshida, Sammy Martinez. Kamehameha Maui–Piikea Keahi, Melia Kama, Malie Watanabe. Lahainaluna–Keani Pagan. King Kekaulike–Tanisha Valdez, Cathy Hokoana. Maui High–Jovita Laloulu, Kylenna Rieta, Cierra Ohashi.