(BL)ING-(BL)ING! Girls Reign Supreme
PICTURES PERFECT: Mitzi Ing's ('00) pitching was as unhittable in the championship game as it was during the season. In the final, Ing allowed no one on base, and also scored Iolani's only run.
BY MELISSA STREET
It was a perfect ending to a perfect story.
The undefeated and first-seeded girls' softball team defeated Mililani in a 1-0 no hitter to win the Chevron State Softball Championship for the second straight year.
Senior Mitzi Ing threw 85 pitches in seven innings for a perfect game and also scored the game's only run on a sacrifice fly by senior Lisa Iwamoto. The team advanced to the championship game on Saturday, Feb. 5 after defeating Waimea (9-2) and Baldwin (1-0).
"Although the expectations were very high, and there was a lot of pressure to do well, I thought the team handled it well and still made sure they had fun," said Head Coach Chris Shimabukuro.
A maximum capacity crowd of 1,200 people, most of whom were Iolani supporters, watched the game at the University of Hawaii softball field.
The team finished the season 19-0. Their success could be due to the team outings they had to get to know each other.
"I remember when I was in ninth grade. There was a good feeling on that team because everyone got along. We captains didn't feel that the past two years and we wanted to bring that feeling back," said Cindy Higa ('00), one of the team's three captains.
Eight seniors, five juniors, and one sophomore made this year's team. Eight were starting returnees.
The girls ended the regular season by defeating Punahou 2-0. "There was a lot of emotion," said Ing, another captain, about the game in which all eight seniors played the entire seven innings.
Their toughest competition in the regular season was Kamehameha, whom they beat in two close games: 2-1 and 3-1.
"Kamehameha's pitching was tough, because they threw fast and hard," said co-captain Kacy Nekoba ('00).
This year, five of the nine starters are seniors. Finding a new starting lineup will be a challenge for Coach Shimabukuro. Even harder will be finding a pitcher to replace Ing, who had an earned run average under 1.0.
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