First, No.3 hitter Fantacie Keahilihau-Kuamoo did what Hilo softball coach Leo Sing Chow expects from all her players: lay down a successful sacrifice bunt. Then the Vikings senior did what she and plenty of other No. 3 hitters normally do: hit the ball a country mile.
Keahilihau-Kuamoo sparked a six-run fourth inning with a two-run inside-the-park home run, and Aliesa Kaneshiro pitched a complete-game nine-hitter as Hilo beat Kealakehe 11-2 on the road Saturday in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation game.
The Vikings improved to 3-0 in league play and 7-0 overall, and Saturday’s win may have been their biggest of the season considering the Waveriders’ home field had been a house of horrors in years past.
Kealakehe (1-2, 3-3) beat Hilo in the BIIF tournament semifinals in 2010 and 2011, denying the Vikings a Hawaii High School Athletic Association state tournament berth each time.
“This is a big win for us,” Keahilihau-Kuamoo said. “All the previous games (at Kealakehe), we left unhappy.”
Keahilihau-Kuamoo did her part to make sure the Vikings left Kailua-Kona with smiles on their faces, ripping an Ashley Isisaki offering through the teeth of a strong wind and well over the head of right fielder Nicole Cerezo with two outs in the fourth inning. Shyanne Higa-Gonsalves scored easily on the play, and Keahilihau-Kuamoo slid into home plate safely as Kealakehe catcher Leisha Nakagawa was receiving a relay throw from second baseman Lina Palmer-Kahananui.
“That felt good,” Keahilihau-Kuamoo said of the home run, which gave the Vikings a 4-0 advantage and started a big inning.
The next five batters reached safely, with Seini Nau getting hit by a bases-loaded pitch to force in one run and Caitlyn Price blooping a single to right field for two more RBIs to chase Isisaki.
Palmer-Kahananui came on in relief, and she gave up Reisha Hoopii-Haslam’s run-scoring that made it 8-1. On the same play, Shrue Abraham may have prevented a Vikings mercy rule victory by gunning down Price at home plate.
Before the six-run outburst, Hilo didn’t muster a hit, and the contest appeared to be a pitchers’ duel between Isisaki and Vikings junior Aliesa Kaneshiro.
That’s why Sing Chow had the powerful Keahilihau-Kuamoo lay down a sacrifice bunt with runners on first and second and nobody out in the top of the third.
“I didn’t know if another (scoring) opportunity would come up,” Sing Chow said.
Keahilihau-Kuamoo had no problem doing what her coach asked, putting down a bunt that moved runners over to second and third. Hilo, taking advantage of four Isisaki walks in the inning, eventually took a 2-0 lead on a Jordyn Breitbarth sacrifice fly and Nau’s bases-loaded walk.
Keahilihau-Kuamoo, Price, Nau and Breitbarth each had two RBIs.
“We had to do what we had to do to advance the runners and score,” Keahilihau-Kuamoo said.
Kealakehe had problems scoring against Kaneshiro, who gave up two runs — one earned — on nine hits to pick up the win. She walked six and struck out seven.
The junior consistently ran into trouble but made big pitches when she needed them.
“I just let them hit because I have confidence in my (defense),” Kaneshiro said.
Isisaki, who went 3 2/3 innings, took the loss. She allowed eight runs — two earned — on three hits, striking out two and walking nine.
The Waveriders outhit Hilo 9-6 but stranded nine runners in scoring position.
Palmer-Kahananui, a sophomore, went 3-for-4, and freshman Tavian Taketa was 2-for-4.
“We didn’t hit with runners on,” Kealakehe coach Wesley Takimoto said.
Hilo 002 600 3 — 11 6 1
Kealakehe 000 100 1 — 2 9 4
c Kamehameha-Hawaii 17, Kohala 13: With the score tied at 10 in the top of the sixth in Kapaau, Mykala Tokunaga clubbed a two-out three-run homer to highlight a four-run inning as the Warriors outlasted the Cowboys.
Tokunaga, a freshman who went 2-for-5 at the plate, also earned the win in the circle for Kamehameha (3-0 BIIF, 6-1 overall).
Pitching five innings in relief of Samantha Simmons, she allowed 15 runs on 11 hits, striking out six and walking one.
Alyssa McGuire also drove in three runs, going 3-for-5. Makena Wagner, who had two RBIs, and Janelle Cameros both went 2-for-3.
Tiani Luga took the loss for Kohala (1-2, 2-4). In six innings, she gave up 14 runs on 12 hits, striking out one and walking 10.
Ryan Manning led the Cowgirls at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a double and four RBIs.
Luga (4-for-5) and Jessica Tenorio (2-for-2) had two RBIs apiece.
KS-Hawaii 115 214 3 — 17 15 3
Kohala 440 202 1 — 13 17 7
c Pahoa 17, Hawaii Prep 7: Mackenzie Singleton pitched five steady innings, and Kayla Silva hit a bases-clearing triple as the host Daggers bolstered their postseason hopes.
Singleton went the distance in the mercy-rule victory, allowing seven hits and only two walks with two strikeouts for Pahoa (1-2 BIIF, 2-6 overall).
Silva ripped two triples, the second of which came with the bases loaded and fueled Pahoa’s 10-run fourth inning.
Christine Diza and Ranchell Berinobis also finished with two hits each.
Kawena Lim-Samura struck out seven but took the loss for the Ka Makani (0-3, 0-7), allowing seven hits and nine walks in four innings of work.
Alexa Meyer came through with two hits for HPA.
Hawaii Prep 322 00 — 7 7 3
Pahoa 011 (10)5—17 7 1
c Konawaena 17, Ka‘u 2: Bethany Batangan had three hits and four RBIs at the plate, and she also picked up the win in the circle in Pahala to lead the Wildcats in a game that ended after five innings because of the mercy rule.
Kaua Mitchell also drove in four runs for the Wildcats (2-1 BIIF, 4-2 overall). Syleesia Jose went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, and Shyla Victor had two hits, and two RBIs.
Shylee Tamura led the Trojans (0-3 BIIF, 0-7 overall) with two hits.
Ka‘u 001 10 — 2
Konawaena 082 52 — 17
Stephens Media’s Bill O’Rear contributed to this report.