For the Hilo High Senior Five — pitcher Aliesa Kaneshiro, second baseman Shyanne Higa-Gonsalves, third baseman Reisha Hoopii-Haslam, center fielder Jordyn Breitbarth and left fielder Amber Vaughn — their last home game on Senior Day couldn’t have ended any better.
There was a bit of struggle, but eventually triumph. There were dirty uniforms after the traditional slide at home, but nothing but smiles on faces. Most of all, they shared good memories with each other.
Kaneshiro pitched a six-hitter with nine strikeouts and two walks as Hilo defeated Waiakea 7-4 in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I softball game Friday at Walter Victor Complex.
The hard-throwing right-hander did a good job not beating herself. A leadoff batter only reached base once, and that was on an error. When Kaneshiro got into trouble, she delivered big pitches — usually with a bit of extra mustard on her fastball — to limit the damage.
Higa-Gonsalves batted 2 for 4 and scored a run, Hoopii-Haslam went 0 for 2 with an RBI, Breitbarth was 1 for 3 with a run scored, and Vaughn was 0 for 3 with a run scored. Kaneshiro pulled double duty and batted 1 for 4 with an RBI.
They were upstaged by sophomore first baseman Shalyn Guthier, who clubbed a towering two-run homer in the fourth inning to stake Hilo to a 6-2 lead. She batted 1 for 2 with three RBIs and Moana Pinner went 2 for 3 for the Vikings (8-0).
“We played a tough game. Waiakea gave us a run for our money,” Guthier said. “The homer was another hit, but it felt good when I hit it. It was a fastball right down the middle. The key was to wait for the ball and stay back.”
Guthier is probably better known for her exploits in basketball, a sport she started as a 5-year-old. She was a late bloomer to softball, picking up a bat in the eighth grade. She said her heart beats the same for a monster homer and timely long-distance shot.
“A homer feels like a clutch 3-pointer that ties the game,” said Guthier, who noted there’s one better feeling. “I’m glad we won and made the seniors proud.”
Waiakea freshman right-hander Alyssa Hara went the distance in the loss. She surrendered seven runs, three unearned, on eight hits and two walks, and struck out two.
Taylor Ogawa batted 2 for 4 with two RBIs and Kaelee Carvalho 2 for 3 with two RBIs to lead the Warriors (6-2).
“I’ll remember our seniors for all the laughs we’ve had, and playing our hearts out,” said Higa-Gonsalves. “I like how the five seniors stuck it out since our freshman year. We’re sisters and family.”
The Hilo Senior Five is part of a core that has netted back-to-back BIIF titles. Before that, the Vikings’ last league championship was in 2006.
“We struggled and it wasn’t our best game,” Hilo coach Leo Sing Chow said. “We had a little disconnect, and lack of focus but we fought through it and put it together. The key was not giving up. We found a way to get through it and stay on top.
“We’ve definitely got unique individuals in our senior class. They’re a good group. They have a lot of character, a lot of talent and bring a lot of excitement with them.”
Waiakea 000 200 2 — 4 6 6
Hilo 220 210 x — 7 8 3