Telsea Taketa and Kealakehe got the dry weather they were looking for in Hilo, and a resilient, bounce-back wasn’t far behind.
Taketa lost her grip in the rain Saturday in a surprising loss, but she was in firm control Monday, firing a two-hitter as the Waveriders beat Hilo 10-1 at Walter Victor complex to force a winner-take-all in their BIIF Division I semifinal softball series.
With a spot in the championship series on the line, Game 3 is 3 p.m. Tuesday at Kealakehe.
“Basically, they didn’t want to go down like that,” said Waveriders coach Loni Mercado, who challenged her team to undergo some soul searching after a 6-1 loss Saturday on their home field.
Kealakehe (8-6) responded, though Taketa wasn’t so sure what was ahead when her team arrived in Hilo at 10 a.m. and saw gloomy skies.
“I was like, “Oh, God, it’s not going to be another (wet) one,” she said, “but it was perfectly fine.”
“After that loss, we thought about it a lot,” Taketa said. “We hadn’t lost to them and it was shocking to us.
“We tried to change our mindset a little more. (Saturday), we were pretty negative. This game we were all talking to each other and keeping each other positive.”
Rallies have way of spicing things up.
Kenye Palik finished with three hits, including an RBI single as the Waveriders scored three times to take the lead in the third. Kaylyn Villanueva’s two-run single in the fifth made it 7-1 and capped a four-run rally.
Palik and Lucky Isisaki, who also had three hits, perfectly encapsulated Mercado’s chaos therapy: put the ball in play an let good things happen.
“(Kenye) is starting to cause chaos,” Mercado said. “I love chaos.
“Why not be a spoiler today? Say “Uh-uh, we’re not just going to give it to you today.”
Taketa struck out five and didn’t give up a hit after Angelina Wright doubled with one out in the third and scored on a groundout.
A back-breaker for the Vikings (5-9) and starter Chalisse Kela came in the fifth when, trailing 3-1, Isisaki sent a ground ball through the left side and scampered all the way around to score, Palik ahead of her, after two errors on the play.
After that, Taketa said, “Not trying to be rude, but they stopped cheering and it seemed like they were putting themselves down.”
Kealakehe felt that way Saturday, but not two days later.
Takata finished with two hits and two runs scored, and the sophomore was in complete control in the circle during the last four innings thanks to pinpoint control.
“She spins the ball well, she hits her spot well and today she was picking up velocity,” Mercado said. “We’re going to ride her as long as she’ll let us.”
Taketa called her first season as Kealakehe’s ace “super tiring,” but she’s ready to take the ball again Tuesday.
“Tonight, I’m going to manifest it,” she said, “hope for a good game, good weather and hope we are playing well.”
Waiakea 11, Keaau 1
After a pair of rainouts, the four-time defending D-I champion Warriors (11-2) were quiet offensively until the fourth, when they erupted for eight runs en route to a TKO win in Game 1 of their semifinal series.
Alize Ka’apana doubled to score two runs in the fourth and finished 3 for 3 with two doubles, and Halee Sweat pitched a three-hitter with eight strikeouts and added an RBI triple at the plate. Sweat walked five.
Game 2 is 3 p.m. Tuesday at Keaau, and if necessary, Game 3 would be back at Waiakea.
The Warriors finished with seven hits, walked seven times and took advantage of four errors by the Cougars (1-12).
Losing pitcher Nohea Quiinderno pitched three innings and allowed eight runs, none earned, with five walks and five hits allowed.