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BIIF softball: Waiakea slugging shortstop Thomas repeats as POY

August 10, 2017 - 12:05am

Waiakea’s Skylar Thomas made a habit of hitting home runs during a brilliant season that doubled as an encore presentation, but not all of her long balls were equal.

Thomas’ homer May 3 against Maui sounded a little louder, traveled a little farther and felt ever so sweeter, sparking a 6-1 victory that against the Sabers that slammed the door on another quick two-game exit for the Warriors at the HHSAA Division I tournament.

“For too long, it was one-two barbecue,” Thomas said. ”We put up a fight against Kamehameha-Kapalama, and it was big to be on the same level as those teams.

“Finishing sixth in the state was a great accomplishment.”

State triumph or not, Thomas’ senior season was simply sizzling. The fluid-fielding shortstop hit .474 with a league-high eight home runs and 41 RBIs for the Warriors, who earned a BIIF Division I threepeat. Thomas was hard on opposing pitchers, making her an easy selection as a repeat honoree as Player of the Year, as chosen by the Hawaii Tribune-Herald and West Hawaii Today.

“It’s satisfying,” she said Wednesday during a telephone interview from the RBI Softball World Series in Cincinnati. “Not because I’m big headed, but because all the work I put in and all the support I got.

“This makes it worth it. I’ve had coaches who not only cared about me, they wanted to see me succeed.”

Joining her as all-BIIF members are teammates Brandee Chinen, a second baseman who hit .561 as a junior; outfielder Shaily Moses, who drove in 18 runs as a junior; and Halee Sweat, who took over as the Warriors’ freshman ace midseason and finished with eight wins and a 3.06 ERA.

For helping Kealakehe reach states for the second year in a row, the Waveriders also had four honorees: right-hander Kiara Cantiberos, outfielders Zayanna Sanchez and Dezarae Garcia and utility Brie McLeod, a shortstop. Three players from Hilo – third baseman Moana Pinner, catcher Gaylynn Ha and first baseman Patricia Marcus – also were all-league.

The selection at third base was close, with sweet-swinging Waiakea freshman Johnacy Mackwelung and Kealakehe’s Brittney Keaunui also garnering major consideration, as did Waiakea’s Jolene Hirata in the outfield.

Winning their eighth BIIF title in 11 seasons, the Warriors secured their first unbeaten BIIF season since 2011. What made this team stand out was its hyper-gregarious roster and its uber-athletic shortstop.

“We were all kind of the same,” Thomas said of Waiakea’s fun-loving nature. “That really drove us.

“All our teams had talent, but we were close.”

The win against Maui ended a losing streak for BIIF Division I teams at states that dated back to a 2009 win by a Waiakea team that was led in part by Thomas’ older sister, Sloane.

In 2010 as a senior, Sloane Thomas put forth a season that now appears to run in the family, leading Division I in home runs, RBIs, and batting average and playing shortstop for the league’s dynasty as a senior.

She, somehow, was left off the all-BIIF first team.

Skylar Thomas has settled the score.

“I’m not going to give this one to her,” she joked, when asked. “I’m going to keep it.”

When Thomas gets back from the RBI World Series she’s set to enroll at UH-Hilo and plans to play on the softball team. She called the situation “complicated.”

“I had a bad start,” she said. “But I didn’t quit.

“I took the harder road, and it helped me grow and find myself.”

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