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12U softball state champs feted

LIHU‘E — The Diamonds SC Kaua‘i softball team earned the championship at the 2023 12U-A Softball Hawai‘i State Tournament Championship on O‘ahu earlier this summer.

And for their accomplishment, Kaua‘i Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami, along with Kaua‘i County Council Chair Mel Rapozo and Council Members Bernard Carvalho and Addison Bulosan, honored the team’s achievement with commendation certificates on Wednesday.

Kawakami extended his congratulations beyond the individual team players to the team moms Jenna Gibson and Kalei Medeiros, as well as the parents and families of the players who do the work of juggling family schedules, ensuring the players are at the field in time for practice and showing up at games for support.

According to championship tournament history recorded in the council certificate, the Diamonds SC Kaua‘i represented Kaua‘i when they traveled to O‘ahu for tournament play.

During pool play, the Diamonds SC Kaua‘i played a double-header in which they dominated Dynasty Softball, but fell short against the Firecrackers, landing the Diamonds as the No. 5 seed.

During double elimination play, the Diamonds SC Kaua‘i rallied to beat Dynasty Softball, 10-4, then took on the top seed Momentum, winning that game on a home run by Kallie Akau to give Kaua‘i a 2-1 edge over the tournament’s top seed.

During the semifinals, Kaua‘i again met up with the Firecrackers. This time, Kaua‘i was victorious with a 5-2 win aided by three double plays.

In the final championship game against Dynasty Softball, the win came down to the wire, as the contest was stalemated at 5-5 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. At that point, Lilinoe Slingerland singled to score the winning run, giving the Diamonds SC Kaua‘i a 6-5 win over Dynasty Softball and the state championship.

Diamonds SC Kaua‘i players include Akau, Slingerland, Mya Gano, Anolani Medeiros, Isis Basuel, Presley Gibson, Jayla Miyashiro, Aribella Cuenca, Lea Ibaan, Ariana Molina, Lyla Edralin, Andie Iglesia, Kyhianna Ragudo, Nawai Fernandez, Mahina Marquez-Pang and Jayzelyn Ruaboro.

Coaches, described by Rapozo as all “big names” in softball and baseball, include Micah Furtado as head coach, and staff Evan Gibson, Lance Edralin, Anthony “AJ” Basuel, Jason “Jammer” Molina and Jackie Alapa‘i, whom Rapozo credits for bringing the team’s achievement to the council’s attention.

The team continued its celebration with a parent and friends-organized lu‘au where the players were further bestowed with lei, rings and more.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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