Kealakehe (6-3) rode the bat of Nani Anakalea-Haleamau and the arm of Kelina Palmer-Kahananui to knock off visiting Keaau 11-9 in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation softball game Thursday, shaping the playoff picture in Division I.
With the win, Kealakehe locks up the No. 3 seed in the BIIF Division I playoffs, avoiding a date with two-time-defending champion Hilo in the BIIF semifinals. Instead, the Waveriders will travel to Waiakea April 19 for a playoff doubleheader.
The Cougars (6-4) face the tough task of battling Hilo (9-0) in the semifinals.
Kealakehe gets a shot against Hilo at home this Saturday in its regular season finale. While a loss to the Vikings would drop Kealakehe to the same record as Keaau, the league’s first tiebreaker is head-to-head, which the Waveriders now own with Thursday’s win. Saturday’s contest has no playoff implications.
Palmer-Kahananui pitched three innings, allowing one earned run, three hits and striking out four batters. Tavian Taketa also pitched four innings.
Kilohi Kamakea took the loss for Keaau. In six innings of work, Kamakea allowed 16 hits and eight earned runs.
Anakalea-Haleamau was the catalyst for the Waveriders’ offense, knocking in three RBIs on 4 of 4 hitting, including a triple.
Leisha Nakagawa also had a big day at the plate, highlighted by a massive home run.
Despite the loss, Shayna Kamakea produced offensively for the Cougars, hitting 3 for 3 with two doubles and two RBIs.
Keaau 1 0 4 3 0 1 0 — 9 8 3
Kealakehe 1 0 1 4 5 0 X — 11 16 5
Kamehameha 15, HPA 0
Mykala Tokunaga pitched four hitless innings and Kekai Wong-Yuen and Gayla Ha-Cabebe hit home runs as the Warriors clinched their third consecutive trip to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association tournament.
Wong-Yuen finished with three hits, including a solo home run, while Ha-Cabebe’s homer came with two runners aboard in the four-inning TKO.
As the outright regular-season champion in BIIF Division II, Kamehameha (7-2) will host a doubleheader against the still-to-be-determined fourth seed April 19 when the best-of-three league semifinals begin.
Kawena Lim-Samura was the losing pitcher for Ka Makani (0-7). HPA still harbors playoff hopes, but it must hope Honokaa loses to Waiakea on Saturday leading into its game Monday at home against the Dragons (2-5-1).