Kamehameha freshman pitcher comes through on senior day

Apr. 14—Some senior days are heartbreakers. Kamehameha's senior day worked out just fine.

Some senior days are heartbreakers. Kamehameha's senior day worked out just fine.

The fourth-ranked Warriors rode a stellar pitching performance from freshman Peahi Grilho-Armitage in an 11-1, six-inning TKO win over No. 5 Punahou to close the ILH regular season.

With three powerhouse teams chasing first place and an automatic state-tournament berth, Kamehameha improved to 9-3, closing the regular season tied with Maryknoll. Coincidentally, Punahou doubled up No. 1-ranked Maryknoll, 14-7, on Thursday. A win by the Buffanblu on Saturday would have put them in a tie with Maryknoll. Instead, Punahou closed the regular season at 8-4.

"I was thinking of this as a championship, so I focused in, " said Grilho-Armitage, who fired a two-hitter.

On Tuesday at Sand Island, Kamehameha will play Maryknoll in a tiebreaker game for the regular-season title and one of the ILH's two state-tourney berths.

Despite the wide margin, it was a few plays away from being a much closer game.

"We had an error and three mental errors in that first inning, " Punahou coach Dave Eldredge said. "Until that last inning, I thought Paige (Brunn ) pitched well."

Punahou came into the showdown at the Warriors' field on a three-game win streak. The Buffanblu won seven of their previous eight ILH games while averaging 11.5 runs per game. However, they had never faced Grilho-Armitage, who was ready to step up after ace pitcher Kiani Soller was sidelined by a sore shoulder. Grilho-Armitage struck out out three with five walks and one hit batter in a surprisingly easy win over one of the state's hottest teams.

"Actually, I'm a little bit surprised, but we practice every day and I pitch every day, " said Grilho-Armitage, who located her five pitches, including an immaculate changeup, with precision.

Facing Punahou's potent lineup has forced the freshman to evolve.

"It makes me adjust to them and get to know what pitches they can't hit, and it helps me in my pitching. I trust my defense and their offense, ' Grilho-Armitage said. "Trusting my defense makes me confident. I feel good. I'm ready for the next game."

Catcher Kezia Lucas has witnessed Grilho-Armitage's progress.

"We work so hard every day, we put in so much effort and attitude, a good, positive mindset, and P's been working a lot, " Lucas said. "She's really good on and off the field. She's just a good person overall. She did really good today with all of her pitches. We told her we had her back no matter what."

Mua Williams, Marley Espiau and Nikki Chong homered for the Warriors, powering a 13-hit barrage. Punahou had an opportunity with the bases loaded in the fourth inning to change momentum, but Kamehameha was resilient.

Kamehameha coach Mark Lyman saw the fighting spirit in Grilho-Armitage and had her on the roster from day one with his team rather than one of the Division I-AA Warrior squads.

"Peahi's got incredible work ethic. She's just a machine. We have 100 % confidence in Peahi, " he said. "Her fight, the doggedness. She's got a short memory. She doesn't let anything bother her. She just keeps coming. She doesn't get disgrunted. She doesn't get tired. She doesn't get angry. Her future's so bright. Her demeanor doesn't even show that."

The home team struck first with five runs on three hits and one Punahou error in the bottom of the first inning.

Punahou got its first hit against Grilho-Armitage in the top of the third inning on a home run to left by Taryn Ho.

The Warriors added a run in the bottom of the fourth on a solo shot over right center by Espiau on a 1-0 fastball. The home team led 6-1.

Kamehameha put the game out of reach with four runs in the bottom of the fifth on a pair of two-run homers. Haylie Reiny led off with a single, and with one out, Chong jumped on a hanging changeup from Brunn for a blast over the left-field fence.

With two outs, Espiau singled to left and Williams followed with a rocket shot over right-center to give the Warriors a 10-1 cushion.