Before Kohala started its BIIF Division II semifinal softball series against Honokaa, coach Terrance Alcoran reminded the Cowgirls that they have less room for error this season.
As opposed to 2018, when each of the four semifinalists already had a HHSAA tournament berth in their pocket, there are only three state spots available to BIIF teams this year, he said.
And for the Cowgirls, the best way for them to increase their margin for error is to cut down on errors in general, which is exactly what they did Saturday in Kapaau, turning the tables on the Dragons with a 14-3 TKO win in Game 1.
“If we don’t win (the semifinals), we might not even get to go to states,” Alcoran said of his message.
Anela Cazimero highlighted a nine-run first inning with a three-run double, Leila Caravalho had three hits and drove in four runs and Mikayla Kekoa struck out four in a five-inning complete game as Kohala (11-4) ended Honokaa’s six-game winning streak.
The Dragons (10-5) surprised Kohala twice with wins during the regular season, though Alcoran bemoaned his team’s miscues in each instance.
“I knew we could beat them if we cut down on our errors,” he said. “The girls were focused. When we play like we did today, we’re a tough team to beat.”
In turn, the Dragons committed five errors, leading the way to seven unearned runs charged to starter Tehani Epenesa.
Game 2 is Monday in Honokaa as Kohala looks to advance to the BIIF championship series for the first time since 2016.
That was Kekoa’s freshman season, but now she’s in her last go-around.
In the circle she scattered three hits and a walk, and all three runs charged against her were unearned. At the plate, Kekoa had two hits and two RBIs. Waiulu Kawai Poliahu tripled and scored in the second and tacked on a run-scoring single in the third
Honokaa scored all of its run in the first, getting a two-run single from Ceelyn Gali-Lucero and Aulii Meyer’s RBI double.
Epenesa went three innings, walking four with three strikeouts. Alexis Ramirez pitched a scoreless fourth.
The loser of the series will play in a third-place game against the Konawaena-Kamehameha series loser to get to states – a do-or-die scenario Alcoran would like to avoid.
“I know if we play clean we can beat anybody,” he said.