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by Kaylee Noborikawa, Sports editor

 

 
The no. 22-ranked HPU women’s softball team swept no. 15-ranked University of Hawai‘i-Hilo, 2-1 and 4-3, April 15 at Sea Warrior Field.

The previous night, the Lady Sea Warriors (28-10, 14-2) split with the Vulcans (33-10, 13-3) 6-12 and 1-0, in a televised doubleheader at Central O‘ahu Regional Park.

The wins boosted the Lady Sea Warriors into first place in the Pacific West Conference and could lead to an invitation to the post-season regional tournament if HPU can win its next five doubleheaders, including a rematch against the Vulcans. HPU has improved to fourth place in the West Region.

April 14
UH-Hilo jumped to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with Leo Sing Chow’s two-run homer. The Lady Sea Warriors countered with a two-run double by Jessica Adolph and a single RBI by Tajia Acierto, bringing HPU ahead by one run. Anuhea Young singled to third base, bringing in Adolph, and Kara Wedemeyer brought in Acierto on a fielder’s choice.

Although the Lady Sea Warriors thought they had a comfortable lead, the game had just begun. In the top of the third, with two outs on the board, Haunani Haasenritter singled for UH-Hilo. Then Charity Senas, cousin of HPU’s Ciera Senas, launched a homerun for the Vulcans, scoring two.

UH-Hilo carried its momentum into the fifth inning as the Vulcans loaded the bases after the first three batters from two singles and a hit by pitch. The Lady Sea Warriors maintained their composure and threw out two runners at home, but HPU pitcher Sherise Musquiz walked a UH-Hilo batter to tie the game at 5-5. The Vulcans then hit three consecutive doubles, raking in five RBIs to steal the lead, 10-5.

In the sixth inning, Charity Senas scored her second two-run homer to put the Vulcans up seven. HPU managed to make another run off of Adolph’s single in the bottom of the sixth, but couldn’t close the gap and lost 6-12.

After losing to their conference rival, the Lady Sea Warriors decided to change their fate.

“ Our bats were there, but after we scored five runs we let down a little bit and gave them opportunities to score,” said Adolph, who went 3-for-4 with one run and three RBIs. “We just shook it off for the second game.”

The nightcap was indeed a different story, with a different result. Following the hard-hitting first game in which both teams combined for 26 hits, the nightcap was relatively duller with only seven hits total.
HPU was first to reach a base when Casey Sugihara swung on a third strikeout but was able to reached second base on a passed ball. The catcher’s error paid off, as Krystal Plunkett singled to right field, allowing Sugihara to advance to third. Sugihara then scored on a wild pitch, which resulted in the only run of the game.

April 15
The Lady Sea Warriors continued their momentum, edging past UH-Hilo in extra innings.

HPU led the first game, 3-1, until the fourth inning, but the Vulcans tied it in the top of the fifth with a double to centerfield and two singles. The game remained scoreless until the 10th inning when Nicole Kalakau doubled to second. A sacrifice bunt by Adolph helped Kalakau reach third base and Danielle Young brought her home with a double into left field, securing the win for Courtney Kessell, who pitched a complete game with eight strikeouts.

In the nightcap, both teams struggled to get on the scoreboard. HPU got a break in the fifth inning when Wedemeyer reached second base on a wild pitch. Ciera Senas reached first base on a Vulcan error, moving Wedemeyer to third. Sugihara brought in her teammates with a two-run double to right field, giving the Lady Sea Warriors a 2-0 lead. UH-Hilo managed to score a run in the bottom of the seventh, but it wasn’t enough to steal the game.

“ We knew that if we beat them in conference, we’d be number one, so we just wanted to play our best,” said Adolph. “We worked together and that helped us come through,” she added.

Upcoming games
The Lady Sea Warriors will face Chaminade University on May 5 at Sea Warrior field at 12 p.m. Five HPU seniors will be honored at the last home game: Clerisse Lemke, Kara Wedemeyer, Lehua Yap, Danielle Young, and Anuhea Young.

Following the Chaminade game, HPU will compete in the NCAA Division II West Regional May 10-14.
 
 

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