LIHU’E – The Waimea Menehune softball squad split a weekend double-header with the Kaua’i Red Raiders Saturday afternoon at Isenberg Field by scores of 2-3 and 5-1 to clinch at least a tie in Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation first round play.
GAME 1: Kaua’i 3 Waimea 2. Raider starter Ana Quibilan and Menehune ace Lynette Perreira locked up in a memorable pitching duel to open the twin-bill.
Waimea picked up a quick run in the top of the initial frame without the benefit of a base hit. Speedster Melissa Moreno drew a lead-off walk, stole second, advanced to third as the throw to the bag went into center field, and sprinted in on Kodi Oyamas RBI-ground out to the right side.
Kaua’i jumped ahead in the bottom of the second as designated hitter Angela Kirchner popped a single over first. Quibilans one-out bunt was thrown into right field and Kirchner and Quibilan raced around the bags for the 2-1 advantage.
The Menehune tied things up in the top of the fourth as Oyama ripped a single to the right side and moved to second when Tia Koerte drew ball four. Elena Souza singled to load the bags and Oyama plated on a subsequent Ashley Lazaro fielders choice ground out.
The Raiders cashed in what proved to be the winning run in the home half of the fifth as Ku’ulei Manintin reached on a clutch two-out bunt single and scored on a dramatic double over center by Kirchner.
Waimea had runners in scoring position in each of their last two opportunities but the resilient Raider defense proved up to the challenge.
In the sixth, Perreira was hit by an errant delivery and sacrificed to second but Quibilan induced an inning-ending ground-out to get out of the jam.
Quibilan quickly picked up the first two outs of the seventh frame but ran into a fix as Alexis Nawai slammed a hard single to the left side to put the potential tying run aboard. With Nawai running on the play, Moreno followed with a lofty single to center. As Nawai turned for home, Raider center fielder Ashley Silva fired a strike to shortstop Darcie Allianic, who then unleashed a perfect one-hop bolt to catcher Ulu Kelekoma. Nawai braced for the inevitable collision but Kelekoma held on to the relay to record the final out as the home crowd celebrated. The extremely quick-paced contest was played in just over an hour.
Quibilan picked up her first win of the season and allowed 2 earned runs on only 4 hits, 2 walks, 1 hit batter, and 2 Raider errors, with 1 strikeout.
In picking up her first loss of the season after three wins, Perreira gave up 3 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits, 2 walks, and 5 uncharacteristic Menehune miscues in the field. The junior hurler also recorded a pair of Ks.
Kirchner led the Raider offensive effort with a 2-3 ball game (single, double, run scored, stolen base, RBI) while Elena Souza singled twice in four plate appearances for the Menehune.
Game 2: Waimea 5 Kaua’i 1. With the lineups unchanged from that at the end of game one, Perreira and Quibilan continued their pitching duel into the night cap.
The Menehune again jumped ahead early as Moreno reached on a throwing error, stole second, and came home on Oyamas RBI-single through the box.
With both defenses playing superbly and the starting hurlers battling the rainy elements, both squads were unable to push across any runs until the crucial fifth frame.
Daeleen Perreira came alive with a lead-off double to center and moved to third on Lazaros following base knock to center.
Following a Raider time-out, the tiring-but-game Quibilan was moved to left with Sheri Gebauer transferred from right to the hill in relief.
Gebauer picked up a quick strikeout for the first out but a quartet of wild pitches (helped in no small way by the inclement elements) allowed Ashley Mier and Oyama to draw consecutive bases on balls and D. Perreira and Lazaro to streak in for a 3-0 Menehune edge. Perreira followed with a double to center to drive in a pair and put the visitors up by five.
Kaua’i scored its only run in the bottom half as Allianic walked, advanced on a Kainoa Dejos ground-out, and scampered in on a throwing error across the diamond.
L. Perreira picked up the complete-game two-hit victory, her fourth win of the season, and walked 4 while recording a pair of strikeouts. In wet conditions the determined Menehune committed 2 errors.
In taking her first loss, Quibilan pitched 4+ innings and allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 3 hits, a hit batter and 2 walks. Gebauer hurled 3 innings of relief and gave up 2 earned runs on 2 hits and 3 walks, while fanning 4 Waimea batters. The Raider defense also stood out in the often damp and blustery weather with a sole first inning miscue.
Five Menehune rapped out hits with Daeleen and Lynette Perreira leading the way with a double each in their three recorded at bats.
Silva and Quibilan singled to pace the Raider offensive attack.
With the split, the Menehune record currently stands at 4 wins 1 loss while the Raiders evened their mark to 2 wins 2 losses.
The Menehune have an opportunity to clinch the KIF first round of play in their next contest, a Tuesday, December 31st, 10 a.m. game against the Kapa’a Warriors (0-3) at the Waimea Canyon Park. The Raiders must hope for a Warrior victory next week and a following Raider double-header sweep at Kapa’a to force a tie-breaker.