The weather forecast wasn’t good for the Valley Isle on Saturday, and the HHSAA even prepared for the 90 percent chance of rain by moving the start of the Division II softball championship up an hour earlier to 5 p.m.
After a brief weather delay, Saint Francis got this one in the books earlier as Sierrah Kupihea fired a three-hitter to beat Kohala 4-1 to repeat as the state champion.
The Saints (15-4) needed just an hour and 48 minutes to dispatch the Cowgirls (14-7) under a slight rain at Patsy Mink field.
Kohala senior ace Mikayla Kekoa pitched a superb game in the loss. In six innings, she allowed four runs on four hits and two walks and whiffed three.
But Kupihea had an absolutely dominant performance. In seven innings, she allowed a run on just three hits and one walk and struck out 14.
She’s got a track record of pitching beauties. She fired a four-hitter in a 7-1 win over No. 1 seed Kamehameha in the semifinals on Friday. Last year, she beat the Warriors 10-0 with a two-hitter.
Kupihea signed with Texas A&M Texarkana, an NAIA school. She can hit every area of the strike zone with a riser, changeup, curveball and screwball.
Konawaena transfer Shaylann Grace, a junior pitcher/infielder, also signed with Texas A&M Texarkana. She batted 2 for 4 with an RBI against Kamehameha.
Kekoa was the only one to nick Kupihea. She batted 1 for 2 with an RBI, driving in a run in the fourth.
The Saints scored one in the fifth on Aulani Garcia’s RBI double and two in the sixth on Jordyn Lono’s two-run homer.
Lono finished with two RBIs, and Grace batted 1 for 3.
The Cowgirls have been living life on a roller-coaster. They beat Kapaa 7-6 in the quarterfinals and Waialua 6-5 in the semifinals.
It was the Cowgirls first time in the championship and they simply ran into a buzzsaw.
Kohala’s Kekoa, Laila Caravalho, and Kayla Joy Jan Kealoha, and Kamehameha’s Brooke Baptiste, Kawai Kauahi-Raquel and Kaula Martin landed on the All-Tournament team.
Kupihea was named the most outstanding player.
Kamehameha 0, Waialua 0: After 30 minutes, the third-place game was canceled due to rain. It was called off in the bottom of the first inning between the Warriors (19-1) and Bulldogs (10-4).
Honokaa 9, Waimea 4: Tehani Epenesa threw a three-hitter in a four-inning time-limited game with three walks and three strikeouts for fifth place.
Ceelyn Gali-Lucero slammed a two-run homer, Epenesa batted 2 for 3 with an RBI, and Aulii Meyer had two hits for the Dragons (14-7).
Nikayla Oyamot-Tanig pitched 3 1/3 innings and allowed seven runs in the loss for the Menehune (9-8).
Mililani def. Hilo 18-25, 25-21, 16-14: Kaala Deitch smashed 17 kills on 45 swing and hit .178 for the Vikings (16-3) in the fifth-place match.
Keanu Quranistsas-Hayes added eight kills and hit .333, Cy Alicuben had 32 assists, and Lester Walker picked up 13 digs.
Kaiser 10, Kamehameha-Hawaii 5: Nani Spaar scored two goals while Noe’ula Lindsey and Ocean Akau had one apiece for the Warriors in the third-place game.