NEWBURY PARK — Oli Keohohou of Newbury Park High hit a ball so far in a game this season, parents from the opposing team accused her of using an illegal bat.
"What they don't realize is that she could hit it that far with a wooden [bat]," Coach Pete Ackermann said. "She can take any bat in the rack and hit the ball that far."
Keohohou (pronounced key-o-ho-ho) packs punch, to be sure.
Her quick hands and explosive, compact swing landed her in the Southern Section record book last year for career triples after only two seasons.
But she is more than a power hitter, despite her 53 extra-base hits in three seasons.
Because of Keohohou's sure glove and excellent range, Ackermann moved her from first base to shortstop this season.
And her deceptive speed prompted Ackermann to move her from cleanup to leadoff batter.
All of which proves one thing: Keohohou can play anywhere, with stellar results.
"It's just a pleasure watching somebody that good," Ackermann said. "She's exciting, not overly flashy. When she comes up, everybody stops and looks."
Keohohou, who is of Hawaiian, Samoan and Japanese ancestry, is the second of four children of Gary and Marisa Keohohou, high school sweethearts from Oahu, Hawaii.
Oli gets her athleticism from both parents. Gary was an all-state high school quarterback, and Marisa, a former cheerleader, traded her pom-poms years ago for a pair of running shoes and the open road.
But Gary and Marisa go to great lengths to teach their children that there is more to life than athletics.
"What we've tried to teach them is winning isn't everything, it's really not anything," Marisa said. "The most important thing is sportsmanship and humility. If they win, it's just icing on the cake."
Newbury Park (21-7), co-champion of the Marmonte League, has had its share of icing this season, primarily because of Keohohou.
She is batting .513 with 40 hits, including six doubles, five triples and four home runs.
Those numbers are more impressive considering that Keohohou rarely sees a pitch in the strike zone.
She drew a league-high 13 walks, and would have had considerably more if Ackermann had allowed it.
"To her credit, I asked Oli to chase some bad pitches this year to get the pitcher to think she can get her out," he said.
"She knows when the team needs her on base and when the team needs her to swing the bat."
The 5-foot-6 junior routinely swings at 3-and-0 pitches just to get another pitch, another opportunity.
"It's all a mind game," Keohohou said. "I actually have to think about it before I hit, and I don't like to at all."
Keohohou would rather rely on her greatest asset, her instincts. See the ball, hit the ball. But she doesn't have the luxury of waiting for her pitch, like most hitters.
"The first [good] pitch I see, I'm probably going to have to do something because it's probably the only pitch [I'll get]," Keohohou said.
To compensate for the lack of quality pitches Keohohou sees, Ackermann has taught her to hit a riseball out of the strike zone, tomahawk style.
"Some college coach some day is going to say, 'Who taught you that? You're not supposed to do that,' " Ackermann said.
Considering her level of play and accomplishments, which include 118 hits, 65 runs batted in and 74 runs scored in 80 games, it's hard to believe Keohohou still has another year left before college.
Dozens of college coaches who have sent her letters the last two years would just as soon sign her now.
But Keohohou is in no hurry.
Family-oriented and an above-average student, she doesn't mind her rigorous schedule. The two-sport athlete attends bible study for an hour each weekday morning before school.
She appears to have boundless energy, enjoying life every step of the way, especially on the softball field.
"Everything is a game to her, a challenge to succeed," Ackermann said.
"I think if you're around long enough, [every coach] should be blessed with such a great athlete."
Southern Section Softball Playoffs
All games 3:15 p.m.
* Glendora at Quartz Hill
* L.B. Poly vs. Thousand Oaks
* Colton vs. Crescenta Valley
* Arroyo Grande at Camarillo
* Highland at Rancho Cucamonga
* Lancaster at Saugus
* Buena at Mira Costa
* Hueneme at Arroyo
* Santa Barbara at Hart
* Rio Mesa at Righetti
* Westlake at Calabasas
* Culver City at Newbury Park
* Immac. Heart vs. Chaminade
* San Marino at Santa Paula
* South El Monte at La Canada
* Harvard-Westlake at Oak Park
* S. Pasadena vs. Notre Dame
* St. Bonaventure at Santa Maria
* Cate at L.A Baptist
* Montclair Prep at Mary Star
* Crossroads at La Reina
* Villanova Prep at Milken
* La Verne Luth. at Grace Brethren
* Highland Hall at Maricopa
* Faith Bapt. at Santa Maria Vly Chr.
* No. County Chr. at L.A. Lutheran
* West Valley Chr. at Liberty Chr.