Menehunes creep back into pennant race

y MANNY HENRIQUES Special to The Garden Island

Kapa’a — The Waimea Menehunes battled blustery wet conditions and a two-run

first inning deficit as they stormed back to defeat the Kapa’a Warriors 6-3

Wednesday afternoon at the Ron Martin Field.

Kapa’a hurler Allen Mundon

induced three ground ball outs on eight pitches to start the ball game as the

Menehunes went down in order.

Falling behind 1-2, Warrior lead-off man

Ikaika Pezario worked a full-count walk as a short rain deluge came in off the

ocean in the bottom of the first inning.

A pick-off throw got by the

Menehune first baseman which allowed Pezario to move up a base, and a wild

pitch to Justin Matsukawa advanced Pezario to third.

Matsukawa hit a high

bouncing ball down the third base line for an infield single to put runners on

the corners, and a Micah Furtado four-pitch walk off Waimea starter Joshua

Maeda loaded the bases.

Allen Mundon’s fielders choice ground ball forced

Furtado at second, but allowed Pezario to scramble home with the first run of

the contest.

Sean Tamura’s first pitch come-backer to the mound caught

Matsukawa off third for the inning’s second out. Kalani Miyashiro was

unintentionally hit to load the bags, and a wild pitch to designated hitter

Kaili Panui allowed Mundon to score from second and put the Warriors in front

2-0.

Mundon got two additional ground ball outs and a fly to Pezario in

center field to get the Menehunes in order to start the second.

Despite

getting hits from Brandon Bonilla and Pezario, the Warriors failed to score in

their bottom half of the inning.

Starting first baseman B.J. Hardy got the

Menehunes first hit of the contest with a lead-off single under Mundon’s glove

to start the third. Hardy stole second base, but two strikeouts and a fly to

right stranded him there.

The Menehunes cut the lead in half as Vidinha

(who entered the contest as Hardy’s defensive replacement in the bottom of the

third inning) got aboard on four straight balls with one out in the top of the

fifth.

Clarence Aki hit a sharp ground ball to Matsukawa’s right for an

infield hit, and Kalae Mata’s first-pitch single loaded the bags.

Maeda’s

short ground ball to third was booted, allowing Vidinha to scoot in for

Waimea’s first run.

Kapa’a turned a nifty 4-6-3 double play on Kanea

Kinimaka-Aranios opposite-field ground ball to get out of the inning without

further damage.

The Warriors got the run back in the bottom of the fifth

as Furtado led off with a double to left center.

Mundon’s single put

runners on the corners and a delayed double-steal drew the throw from the

Waimea catcher and allowed Furtado to cross the plate for Kapa’a’s third run,

and Mundon nabbing second on the play.

Miyashiro hit a shot to center

field which was fielded by Rocky Aviguetero. First baseman Vidinha cut off

Aviguetero’s throw and his relay to catcher Vance Matsumoto was just in time to

tag Mundon attempting to score.

The score remained 3-1 until the top of

the seventh when things unraveled for the Warriors.

Aviguetero hit a 1-2

pitch into center for a single, and Vidinha’s line-shot ground-rule double down

the left field line put runners in scoring position.

After Clarence Aki

lofted a short fly to left for the inning’s initial out, pinch-hitter Mark Ruiz

stung a single to right scoring Aviguetero and Vidinha to tie the contest at

3-3.

After fielding Maeda’s tough ground ball chance, Furtado slipped

while attempting to start the potential-inning-ending double play, putting

runners on first and second.

Kinimaka-Aranio hit a dribbler past second to

load the bases, and after fouling off a tough full-count pitch from Mundon,

Menehune designated hitter Scott Yamase drilled a single to right center to

score Ruiz and Maeda, giving Waimea their first lead of the ball game, with

Kinimaka-Aranio settling at third.

Kapa’a countered by moving Matsukawa to

the hill in relief and Mundon to the shortstop position.

Matsumoto worked

a full-count walk to load the bases, and Rita was called out on strikes for the

second out. Aviguetero, at bat for the second time in the inning, hit a routine

grounder that was muffed to allow Kinimaka-Aranio to score Waimea’s sixth and

final run.

Maeda allowed only a Mundon single deep in the hole to close

the Warriors (3-2) down in the final inning of play as Waimea (2-2) found

itself back in the thick of a hotly contested pennant race for the KIF first

round title.

Waimea scored their 6 runs on 8 hits (7 singles and a double)

and 3 walks; the Menehunes committed 1 error and left 5 men on base. Maeda

picked up the complete game win, giving up 3 runs on 9 scattered hits and 3

walks; the Warriors also had 2 batters hit-by-pitches and committed 3 errors.

Maeda was most effective when he needed to be as the Warriors left 9 men

on base (2 in the first and second, and 1 in each successive inning of play).

Kapa’a’s Mundon and Miyashiro were the only players on either team to pair

hits (2 singles apiece) in the contest.

The Menehunes next take on the

Kaua’i Red Raiders (1-2) in a critical Saturday, April 8 double-header at the

Hanapepe Ball Park.

The first game will get underway at 1 p.m. (the later

start attributed to SAT testing in the morning).

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