Mustangs Play OIA Softball Semifinals Thursday In Aikahi

A first-round bye for Wednesday’s OIA White Conference playoffs wasn’t the Kalaheo softball team’s only reward for a 9-3 regular season. The Mustangs also have punched their ticket for the upcoming Division I state tournament.

“We just want to keep on rolling along,” coach John Spencer said.

First off, however, Kalaheo took a break. With more than a week off following their season-ending sweep of Kahuku, it practiced last Monday and then took three days off before returning to work Friday.

“They work hard and deserve the break,” Spencer said. “We’re trying to use the opportunity to heal up. We have some injured players, and we have some who are sick. We also want them to make sure they get their schoolwork squared away.”

Kalaheo returns to action Thursday at Aikahi Park to play the winner of a first-round matchup between McKinley and Waialua in a semifinal game. The Mustangs can advance to Friday’s OIA DII title game with a win.

As Spencer and the Mustangs look ahead to the post-season, they will look once again for their offensive output to lead the way. They scored in double-digits in six of their nine wins and are 8-0 when tallying six runs or more.

“Our hitting has definitely come around. We spend a lot of time hitting in practice, and it’s been evident, and it’s been paying off. If you can get one more run than the other guy, you win the game. I believe we’re hitting between .275 and .300 as a team.

“From the top of the lineup to the ninth spot, it has really been a team effort for us,” he added. “When you have everyone focused on one goal, everyone contributes. Our motto has been ‘One Team, One Dream.’ We’re peaking at the right time. It’s all good.”

The Lady Mustangs closed out their season with a flourish, defeating Kahuku 5-0 and 7-5. Kalaheo had trailed 5-0 in game two of the series before rallying with seven unanswered runs.

“They really jumped on us fast, but we made a run in the fifth inning of that game and took the lead and never relinquished it,” said Spencer. “We had great hitting at the right time, and our pitching staff kept us in it after that.”

As always, pitching and defense will play huge roles in over the next few weeks, and Spencer likes his team’s upward mobility on that note, of late. “Our pitching has been a lot more consistent,” he said. “They’ll keep us in games.”

The DII state softball championships are May 2-5.