Pearl City Bowlers Off To Strong Start Despite Small Roster

The Pearl City girls bowling team may have a hard time not looking ahead during the next five weeks as its OIA season plays out. After all, the Lady Chargers are the two-time defending state champions. If anything, the greater chore for head coach Millie Gomes and team is simply to stay the course.

“I’ve told them, ‘You’ve been there before – now you just have to hang in there and play your game,'” said Gomes. “I’m just really proud of the girls for coming together. They’re an awesome team, and they’ve really, really matured since last season.”

Pearl City, which won both 2013 league games to date, returns to action at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Schofield Bowl to compete against its other nine OIA West counterparts. While expectations remain high, Gomes’ team is making its way with a smallish roster.

“Everybody else (in the OIA) has a roster of seven to nine,” said Gomes, who also has led Pearl City to two straight OIA overall titles. “We only have five, but we have five really good bowlers.” They are Kristin Frost, Ashlyn-Rae Castro, Chelsi Morishige, Kylie Malilay-Madrona and Sasha Nomura-Calistro.

Frost opened the season Aug. 22 with a three-game tabulation of 633, making her the only bowler from the West to top the 600-plateau that week. “She’s been leading the pack for us,” Gomes said. “She’s really, really matured in her game. She’s really strong from practicing softball so much, which is her first love, that she just guns that ball.”

Morishige was the “No. 1 bowler in the West last year,” she added. “She’s our anchor bowler. She’s very mature. She hasn’t found her niche yet this year, but we’re only in week two.”

Castro also is off to a solid start, having posted a high-game of 213 in week two. That tied her for top honors in an individual game with Morishige and Kapolei’s Lindie Esteban for that week.

“Ashlyn is pretty steady – she’s our team captain this year. She can be depended on to rise to the occasion when we need her to.”

Malilay-Madrona and Nomura-Calistro also are expected to figure big in another post-season run for the Lady Chargers, according to their coach. “Kyllie has really, really upped her game this year. She’s very confident and throws great. Sasha also has really upped her game – she’s kind of like our secret weapon.”

Now in her seventh season as Pearl City’s head girls coach, Gomes is used to the Lady Chargers being in contention for titles, and calls her current group “one of the better teams I’ve had since I’ve been here.

“They have a real target on their back this year, so they’ll need to depend on each other.”