UH-Hilo softball ace Isabelle Mejia got help, and a lot of it.
Then she helped out Valerie Alvarado, who didn’t need all that much the way she was pitching.
Alvarado fired her first shutout of the season Wednesday at Kealakehe High to cap a sweep of Dominican with a 2-0 victory, giving the Vulcans their biggest highlight on a day that was full of them in Kailua-Kona.
UHH (14-4, 9-1 Pacific West Conference), which won the first game 12-2 behind home runs by Billi Derleth and Vevesi Liilii, has been looking for a second pitcher to depend on alongside Mejia. Alvarado (3-2) delivered in a five-hitter, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the seventh with a groundout and a flyout to seal the Vuls’ fourth consecutive win.
Mejia hit UHH’s third home run of the day, a solo shot in the sixth, after Kiarra Lincoln (2 for 3) singled to score Lauren Flores (2 for 3) with two outs in the second.
The teams will play another doubleheader at 11 a.m. Thursday at Kealakehe in a series that was delayed by a day and moved westward because wet campus field conditions and the prospect of threatening skies in Hilo.
Playing in the drier air, the Vuls jumped all over the Penguins (3-6, 2-6) in the opener, scoring eight runs in the first courtesy of a grand slam by Derleth, who was making her first start of the season on offense, and a three-run blast by Liilii, who had missed the past eight games with an injury.
Mejia (7-0) allowed two runs for the first time in five starts and walked four, but she allowed just one hit with a strikeout and in the 4 1/2- inning TKO.
The first seven batters reached in the first – Lincoln and Maria Steadmon walked ahead of Liilii’s blast to left-center – after Dominican finally recorded an out, Derleth cleared the bases with a shot over the barrier in left, finishing 3 for 3. Derleth hit four home runs last season. The home run for Liilii, a junior transfer from Aiea, Oahu, was the first of her UHH career.
UHH tacked on four runs in the fourth. Mae Kaleikini (2 for 3) hit a run-scoring single on a play in which another run came on an error, and Skylar Thomas came through with a two-run double.