Aiea Preps For State Softball Tour­ney

MidWeek Islander (West Oahu) - - West Oahu Sports -

seven years there has been a Di­vi­sion II, so all are hop­ing to break the trend. Na Ali‘i’s own hopes de­pend on of­fen­sive out­put and the bal­anced pitch­ing of Kelsie Takeuchi and Joe-Ann Rapoza.

“I’d say our hit­ting has been pretty con­sis­tent. Some of the other play­ers of ours who hadn’t been con­sis­tent have be­gun to put the ball in play. We’re com­ing along good.”

Koide ac­knowl­edged a quick lead in a game can be a big lift at the state tour­na­ment, where one-run de­ci­sions are com­mon.“Men­tally, it re­ally helps (to play from ahead). When you get a few runs, it takes a lot of pres­sure off of the de­fense. It’s a small weight off of your shoul­ders.”

Aiea also has ben­e­fited in se­nior lead­er­ship by way of short top Kori Nishi and first base­man Te­muk­isa Lau­talo.

“Lead­er­ship is the main part of their con­tri­bu­tion,” Koide said. “Temu’s a very good leader. The other girls look up to her. She and Kori both work hard.

“Kori’s in­stincts as far as know­ing where to throw are re­ally good. As a leader, she’s vi­tal as far as help­ing us keep our com­po­sure.”

Koide calls Takeuchi and sec­ond base­man Macy Garon key com­po­nents to Aiea’s of­fen­sive im­prove­ment. “Those two have been re­ally con­sis­tent as far as putting the ball into play.”

Aiea was to learn of its pair­ing and first-round op­po­nent late Sun­day. The matchups will in­flu­ence which pitcher Koide plans to start on Tues­day, al­though she ex­pects both Takeuchi and Rapoza to play. If Aiea gets by its firstround op­po­nent, as last year, it will play four games in four days through Fri­day.

“It will be a game-day de­ci­sion,” Koide ex­plained.“If we’re play­ing ev­ery day, then more than likely we’ll have a dif­fer­ent pitcher ev­ery day.”

With their last OIA Tour­na­ment game played May 1, Aiea will have had a 10-day lay­off by the time of their first-round game.

It was busi­ness as usual in the in­terim. “We prac­ticed ev­ery day up un­til now and plan to prac­tice ev­ery day (un­til Tues­day),” Koide said. “We’re just fo­cus­ing in on fix­ing the small ar­eas we need to work on, like some of our de­fense and the ba­sics.”

The first two rounds of the DII state softball cham­pi­onships will be played at Cen­tral Oahu Re­gional Park, with Thurs­day’s semi­fi­nal games and Fri­day’s cham­pi­onship game sched­uled for Rain­bow Wahine Softball Sta­dium on the UH-Manoa cam­pus.

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