(HAWAII ATHLETICS) —The University of Hawai'i softball team split their exhibition doubleheader against Josai (from Saitama, Japan) on Sunday afternoon at the newly renovated Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. Josai edged out the 'Bows in the first game, 6-5 in eight innings, but UH came back to defeat Josai in the second game, 7-5.
Josai 6, Hawai'i 5 (8 innings)
Josai capitalized on two early errors to post a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first. Josai's leadoff batter, Chika Kaneko reached on a fielding error on the second baseman to start the game. She went to second on a single through the leftside of the infield by Aya Otsuka. After a foul fly out to third and a ground out to first, Kotoha Aoyama hit a fly to center that went in and out of the centerfielder's glove to score both Otsuka and Kaneko.
Josai extended their lead to 4-0 on another two errors in the top of the second.
Hawai'i chipped away at the score, recording single runs in the second, third, fourth, fifth and seventh innings, eventually tying the game to force an extra inning.
Danielle Garcielita led off the home half of the first with a double over the rightfielder. She hustled into third on a passed ball but was left stranded there.
UH loaded the bases in the second with one out and pushed one run across to cut Josai's lead to 4-1. Garcielita pulled a single through the rightside of the infield to score Alyssa Soyka from third. On the play though, Josai executed a relay play from rightfield to second base to the catcher to gun down pinch runner Courtney Hiruko who was trying to score from second with two outs.
In the third inning, Cheeks Ramos launched a solo home run just snuck over the fence inside the leftfield foul pole to cut UH's deficit to 4-2.
In the third Sojka got things rolling again. She led off the frame with a single to left and came home on a double by Rachael Turner that allowed Sojka to score all the way from first base.
Josai extended their lead to 5-3 on an RBI single by Maki Tomizawa that scored Chika Kaneko from third.
Nicole Lopez then led off the fifth inning with a solo blast over the left-centerfield fence to close their gap to one run at 5-4.
Callee Heen blasted a solo home run to centerfield to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh. Sojka followed Heen by lacing a triple past a diving rightfielder. But Sojka was thrown out trying to score on a fly to left.
In the eighth inning, Josai's Maki Miura reached on a single to left with one out. She moved to second on a ground out to third and then stole third base. Honoka Baba then laid down a suicide squeeze bunt which Heen grabbed but dropped trying to tag Miura sliding to the plate.
UH's Brittany Hitchcock took the loss, throwing all eight innings. She allowed six runs (two earned runs) on seven hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
Josai starter Mika Ichizawa also threw a complete game, allowing five runs on 13 hits with a walk and a strike out.
Hawai'i 7, Josai 5
The second game started off with a bang for UH. After retiring Josai in order in the top of the first, the 'Bows batted around the order and erupted for six runs—highlighted by a two run home run by Bree Soma.
Hawai'i extended its lead to 7-0 in the second inning as Sojka continued her hot hitting with a solo home run to centerfield.
UH held off Josai who later scored two unearned runs in the fifth and rallied to post three runs in the seventh.
Hawai'i starter Dana Thomsen had a good start, retireing the first 12 of 13 batters. She earned the win allowing two unearned runs on five hits with no walks and four strikeouts in six and a third innings of work. Rookie pitchers Dominique Martinez and Emily Klee both made brief appearances in the seventh inning to seal the win.
Minami Matsuzaki took the loss giving up seven runs on seven hits with three walks and a strikeout. Miki Endo finished the game throwing the final two scoreless innings.
Hawai'i will open on the road next week in Las Vegas, Nev. in UNLV's Marucci Desert Classic. The 'Bows will begin the 2018 season against BYU on Feb. 15 at 4pm HT.