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Softball Challenging At Midseason Mark For Central Teams

As the OIA prep softball season hits the midway point, every game will be akin to a playoff game over the next three weeks for Leilehua, Mililani and Waialua. A glance at this week’s key games for each of those teams follows.

Pearl City at Mililani – 3:30 p.m. Thursday

If Mililani needs a lobbyist, Pearl City’s Keoke Behic might qualify. The longtime Chargers head coach had plenty of respect for the Trojans as he and his team looked ahead to this game.

“Mililani has been the best so far,” Behic said. “Their 2-1 win over Campbell on TV was huge. They hardly make mistakes. They’re a fast team, which is always good on the base paths, and they have one of the best pitchers in the state in (Aubree) Kim.”

Mililani has been nothing less than dominant to date, outscoring opponents 30-2 en route to a 4-0 start with wins over Kapolei, Waipahu, Waianae and Campbell. In fact, those 30 runs tie Leilehua for the scoring lead in the Red West and ranked third overall behind East powers Moanalua (64) and Kaiser (40).

Kim has been a catalyst for the Trojans, with three complete-game victories to her credit. In 24 innings pitched, she’d already posted 38 strikeouts (versus just two bases-on-balls) heading into last Friday’s Leilehua game.

Pearl City took a 2-1 record into its game with Waianae late last week, having posted consecutive shutouts over Kapolei and Waipahu. The Chargers’ lone loss came to Leilehua (11-9) last Wednesday. Pearl City has gone with two pitchers in each league game so far: sophomore Kristin Frost and freshman Tiana Kaaialii.

McKinley at Waialua – 3:30 p.m. Thursday

With 52 runs in its first four outings, McKinley has established itself as the premier offensive team in OIA White. The Tigers’ record stood at 3-1 with a pair of wins over Radford and a cross-over win over Kalaheo from the East. McKinley’s lone loss was to Aiea.

Waialua took a 2-1 mark into its game with Radford last Thursday night. The Bulldogs also were to meet league-leader Nanakuli in a key game over the weekend before turning their attention to Thursday’s McKinley game.

Like the Tigers, Waialua’s lone loss came to Aiea, a game the Bulldogs rebounded from nicely with a 16-5 victory over Farrington. Waialua’s other win was a forfeit from Anuenue. The Bulldogs went with junior pitcher Keahi Pang in the game with Aiea, while senior Kaili Agabin started the Farrington game. Agabin also figured big, offensively, in the Farrington win with a two-run homer, while teammates Alaina Bayudan (two hits, two RBI) and Shawn Kauwalu (two home runs, four RBI) also had big days. The back end of Waialua’s schedule shapes up nicely, as they’ll play three of their last four league games on their home field.

Leilehua at Waipahu – 10 a.m. Saturday

Perhaps no team in the OIA Red West faced a more demanding schedule in the first round of league play than Leilehua, which endured a four-game stretch against Campbell, Kapolei, Pearl City and Mililani.

The Mules emerged at 2-2 as they entered last weekend’s Mililani game. With margin for error so thin in the Red West, this game with Waipahu could be a must-win for Leilehua, which still has road dates looming against Campbell and Mililani. The Waipahu game also marks the midway point of Leilehua’s season. After mustering just four runs in back-to-back losses to Campbell and Kapolei, the Mules saw their offensive fortunes change considerably in a resounding 11-9 win over a good Pearl City team last Wednesday. Chenoa Au (team-leading 3 RBIs) and Tiana Cantero had three hits apiece to lead the offensive effort, while six different Mules had at least one RBI. Waipahu, which was winless through its first three games, was defeated 15-5 by Leilehua March 6.

jackster.1969@yahoo.com

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