Senior Leadership Keeps Kapolei Softball Going Strong
With her prep softball eligibility clock ticking away, Kapolei pitcher Winona Pauline has been making the most of every outing.
Above all, she sets the pace for the Hurricanes, according to head coach Tony Saffery.
“She’s pitched really well, and her presence has been big. She’s more of a vocal leader, and the girls react and respond to her. They definitely want to play behind her.”
Pauline took a 3-0 record into last weekend, having pitched 26 innings covering four regular-season games to date. Her ERA stood at .54 with 53 strikeouts versus only 12 walks.
Her efforts are one of the reasons the team had won seven in a row going into last Thursday night’s make-up date with the Mililani Trojans.
“The thing that’s been a plus this year is her maturity,” Saffery said. “Last year, she would try to do too much at times, and I say that respectfully because Winona is a gamer.
“She’s been having a lot of fun this year and still working hard.”
In addition to Pauline, Saffery also has high praise for Pauline’s fellow seniors Mikela Manewa, Ashalynn Umiamaka and Aimee Aipa.
“We always look for senior leadership, try to designate it and run with it, but this year we didn’t have one right away. Right now, we have two or three kids speaking up.”
Manewa has been a mainstay for three seasons, beginning in center field, where she earned First Team All-Conference honors while only a sophomore. She’s the shortstop this year.
“She’s doing it all,” said Saffery. “She’s also been batting really well.
Umiamaka starts at third, while Aipa is the team’s catcher.
“Ashalynn has been a starter ever since she came to Kapolei,” Saffery said.
“She’s been putting up some runs offensively, too, during this latest stretch, and Aimee has been great catching for our pitchers.”
Sophomore left fielder StaciaAl Mahoe also has figured big in the Kapolei High School season so far. She’s batting in the leadoff spot.
“She’s done a superb job.”
The team is off this week as it prepares for next week’s Oahu Interscholastic Association tournament, which will be a four-day affair, beginning on Wednesday.
The top five OIA teams receive the league’s berths for the Division I state softball tournament in early May.
“The break will be a plus for everyone,” Saffery said. “We talk about momentum (from the regular season), but when I talk to the other coaches, we all talk about the kids being able to get over colds and heal up from injuries. We’ll continue to work out.”