KAHULUI — Welcome to the big show, Kohala.
For the second day in a row with everything on the line at the HHSAA Division II state tournament, the Cowgirls came up big in the clutch, this time knocking off OIA champion Waialua 7-6 to advance to the program’s first state championship.
Kohala let the Bulldogs tie the game with a five-run fifth inning, but responded in the bottom half when Leiana Caravalho brought in Laila Caravalho for the eventual game-winning run.
On Thursday, the Cowgirls used a pair of runs in the final inning to sink Kapaa.
Mikayla Kekoa — who has pitched every inning during the tournament for Kohala — shut the door in the final two innings, earning the victory in the circle. She allowed just four hits and three earned runs while striking out eight, bringing her total in the three games to 37.
Laila Caravalho was the offensive sparkplug for the Cowgirls, accounting for half of her team’s hits in the contest. She went 4 for 4 with three runs scored and an RBI. Harley Yamasaki and Leiana Caravalho added a pair of RBIs each.
There was a chance for a BIIF championship rematch, but Kamehameha-Hawaii ran into a buzz saw and suffered its first loss of the season in the other semifinal, falling to defending state champion Saint Francis 7-1 in a rematch of last year’s title game.
The Warriors had beat the Cowgirls in all four meetings this year, including in an extra-inning thriller in the BIIF championship series.
Kohala — the BIIF runner-up — has a chance to become the league’s first state champion in the sport since Hilo won the title in 1978.