Mililani Softball A Title Contender

When it comes to the DI state softball championships, Mililani has been a permanent fixture at the event, having qualified every year during head coach Rose Antonio’s nine seasons on the job.

This year, the Trojans have a chance to make more history as they look to become the first Mililani team ever to win back-to-back state titles.

Not since Kailua won three straight from 1995-97 has an OIA member repeated as state champion. Mililani qualified for the tournament with an 11-2 win over Castle in the quarterfinals of the OIA tournament last Thursday. The Trojans were to play a semifinal game Friday in hope of advancing to the OIA title game.

Pairings for the DI state softball championships, which will be played Tuesday through Friday at University of Hawaii’s Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium, were to be revealed late Sunday.

Central Oahu Voice takes a look at Mililani’s state tournament prospects.

Record: 10-2 in the OIA West Conference regular season. The Trojans were the West’s No. 2 seed for last week’s OIA DI tournament.

Wins: Pearl City (3-2) March 7; Waianae (12-0) March 10; Waipahu (2-1) March 17; Kapolei (11-4) March 20; Campbell (6-5) March 24; Leilehua (8-0) March 28; Waianae (17-0) April 4; Waipahu (7-6) April 14; Kapolei (11-0) April 16; Leilehua (13-4) April 23; Castle (11-2) May 6 in an OIA tournament quarterfinal

Losses: Campbell (10- 4) April 18; Pearl City (2- 1) April 28

Signature Wins: Pearl City (3-2) March 7; Campbell (6-5) March 24

The History: Mililani has won three DI state titles, including two under Antonio in 2014 and 2009. (The Trojans’ first title came in 2005 under then- coach Mike Okimoto.) Mililani was the runner- up in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and had a third-place finish in 2010. Antonio is 19-9 in state tournament play.

What to Watch: The Trojans entered last week’s OIA tournament looking to bounce back from a 2-1 defeat to Pearl City in their regular-season finale. That single run represented Mililani’s lowest output of the season, so the Trojans were naturally hoping to regain the offensive firepower they have displayed for most of 2015, which included topping the 10-run plateau in 6 of 12 contests.

Kylie-Ann Bello (.500), Shannon Pascua-Stanton (.526) and Tristan Cozo (.452) have been among the Trojans’ offensive leaders. Trojan pitcher Aubree Kim, who was the catalyst of Mililani’s 2014 title run as a sophomore, has lived up to the preseason hype leading the Trojans’ defensive efforts. Kim entered last week’s OIA tournamentamong the state’s leaders in innings pitched (54), strikeouts (67) and ERA (2.72).

Mililani’s ability to win close games this spring also has been impressive, as the Trojans own a 4-1 record in games decided by one run.