Lady Lunas rely on good defense and strong pitching
LAHAINA — Second-year Lahainaluna High School softball coach Lei Nakamura is a positive thinker at the top of the girls’ diamond game here on the Valley Isle.
Aside from coaching the Lady Lunas, Coach Lei is the president of the Maui Girls Softball Association and maintains a close connection to the game throughout the year.
That attention to softball detail translates into a quality program at Lahainaluna and points to a strong run to improve upon last season’s 7-5 Maui Interscholastic League record and third place finish.
“We’ll be strong defensively, especially in the infield, and we have quality pitching,” she explained last week from the home dugout at the picturesque Lady Lunas Field on the Lahainaluna campus last week.
“What we lack is game situation experience at the high school level. There’s a lot of ability on this team, and what we need to see is the returning players helping the newer ones gain confidence to play on this level. They’re all working hard, and I think we’re on the right track. Sportsmanship is also big for us, so we put a lot of emphasis on that.”
In compiling a 3-1 record in the first two weeks of the 2010 season, the Lady Lunas have given freshman Hope Morikawa the ball in the circle to pitch to junior returnee Tricia Bonifacio behind the plate.
The infield starters include junior Ana Tauese at first base, sophomore Brenna Nakamura at second, transfer Makanalani Hussey at third and freshman Haley Nakamura at shortstop.
The outfield rotation includes returnees Anastaceyea Arcangel, Amanda Murphy, Jessica Wallace and Erika Erickson.
Rounding out the team roster are freshmen Mehana Chang, Chalice Dela Cruz, Kekuu Haake, Jina Miyamoto, Lyla Talaroc-Kaniho and Halii Vierra.
Coach Lei is assisted by a coaching staff of Joe Keanini, Lissa Kan Hai, Ekolu Wallace and Joshua Wallace. The team managers are Kauanoe Arcangel, Lavinia Pasikala and Lithe Pokipala-Waiohu.
Lahainaluna opened up the MIL season on March 3, and the 12-game regular season — including six home games — continues through April 17.
The MIL post-season championship tournament will be played at the Patsy Mink Field at Maui High from April 29 to May 1.
The Hawaii High School Athletic Association State Tournament will be played at U.H. Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium on May 11-14.