Dominance was the name of the game in Saturday’s HHSAA Softball State Championship between the ‘Iolani Raiders and the Leilehua Mighty Mules. The Raiders capped off a whirlwind season with a record seventeen runs in a drubbing of runner-up Leilehua. The 17-2 contest needed not go the distance for the breaking of a 42-year old scoring record, as a mercy rule conclusion to the championship game ended the match at the top of the fifth inning.
The rout was on early when an Allie Capello ’22 homer began a sequence of RBI singles from the top of the Raider order to establish an early 8-0 lead in the second inning. A single from Rylie-Ann Wada ’20 drove in a pair of runs with two more players later walking in during the fourth as the lead ballooned to 12-1. Capello’s fifth and sixth runs batted in along with a three-run homer posted by Kai Barrett ’19 to put the tally at 17.
Despite the gaudy scoring numbers, it was also the pitching which enabled such a one-sided match. The tandem of sisters Aleia ’19 and Ailana ’22 Agbayani provided dominant work on the mound to hold the Leilehua team which had put up 23 runs on the board in their previous three matchups. Not registering their first hit until the top of the third, Leilehua’s two runs came off of a bases-loaded walk and a steal of home plate. The Mighty Mules needed six run inning to stay out of the mercy rule territory, but the Raider defense simply overpowered them. With a final fly-out, the Raiders took home the trophy and concluded ʻIolani’s first softball state championship in 19 years.
Finishing the season at 19-5, the Raiders stood strong in a state tournament which featured blowouts but also a pair of nail-biter wins over Waianae (11-10) and Baldwin (11-8). Though the team did not win the ILH crown, they took home the ultimate prize title as Hawai‘i State Champions.