Lady Lunas vying for MIL title
LAHAINA — Lahainaluna High School softball coach Lei Nakamura can still taste the bitter defeat her team suffered in a winner-take-all playoff game against Baldwin at the end of last season.
The Lady Lunas had staged a late season rally to catch and defeat the Lady Bears in the Maui Interscholastic League post-season tournament to force the high-stakes playoff.
“I can still feel that one — we were so close,” said Coach Lei last week from the dugout of the Lady Luna diamond on campus.
A win would have propelled the team to its first MIL championship since 2004 in Nakamura’s second season at the helm of the Lahainaluna team.
But it’s a new season, and Coach Lei is as optimistic as they come. Moreover, she has a wealth of experience in softball — she is also commissioner of the Maui Girls Softball Association — that translates out to a top-level program year in and year out.
For her third season guiding the Lahainaluna team, she will be assisted by Joe Keanini, Ekolu Wallace, Josh Wallace, Talia Filikitonga and Eke Watson.
The Lady Lunas’ high-charged battery is filled by sophomore Hope Morikawa in the circle and senior veteran and team co-captain Tricia Bonifacio behind the plate.
Junior co-captain Brenna Nakamura plays shortstop, sophomore sister Haley Ann Nakamura is at second, senior Makana Hussey plays third and Kekuu Haake holds down the bag at first. Sophomores Jessica Wallace, Mehana Chang and Lyla Kaniho fill the outfield positions.
Rounding out the roster are sophomores Jina Miyamoto, Kaua Arcangel and Shelby Uwekoolani, and freshmen Lithe Waiohu and Popmai Pagatpatan.
Near the halfway point in the current season, the Lady Lunas are in first place in the MIL standings with a 3-1 record, including an 11-4 pounding of Baldwin in the season opener at home a month ago.
After the 12-game regular season that includes three matchups with Division I rivals Baldwin, Maui High, Kamehmeha Schools Maui and King Kekaulike, the MIL will host the post-season tournament at Patsy Mink Field on the Maui High campus.
The state tournament will then be held in April at the University of Hawaii Wahine Stadium at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.