Diamond dreams continue for second round

LIHU’E – The Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation prep softball second round of play will kick off Wednesday with a critical 5:30 p.m. matchup between first round champ Waimea (5-1) and the host runner-up Red Raiders (4-2) in front of what is expected to be a boisterous Isenberg Field crowd.

The stage is set for what is expected to be an intense struggle between two highly competitive and talented squads. Only a single game separated the pair as the Menehune and Kaua’i split their first two contests before Waimea edged out a deciding 5-1 road win in their final first round tilt. Both teams have also won all three respective meetings with the Kapa’a Warriors.

With only a total of four seniors on their playing rosters this season, initial team statistics point out just how close the Menehune and Raiders actually are. Waimea has a slight edge in batting average (.374 to .339) while the Raiders have scored 80 runs in 6 ball games (to the Menehunes 77). Both squads have committed 12 defensive errors. One factor to Waimeas success has been their ability to put the ball in play, having only struck out 9 times in 239 official plate appearances.

Individually, at the midway point of the season, Kaua’i freshman co-captain Ku’ulei Manintin leads the league with a .474 batting average (9-19) with a KIF-best 3 doubles and a home run to her credit. Manintin has also scored 11 runs to jump-start the Raider offense and has tied Waimea ace Lynette Perreira with a .789 slugging percentage.

Raider designated hitter/outfielder Angela Kirchner tops all players with a .650 on-base percentage- in addition to 3 singles and 2 doubles, Kirchner has also reached on 4 opponent errors and 4 unintentional plunkings.

Kapa’a senior Kassandra Wong currently leads the league with a pair of first round triples.

In addition to Manintin’s grand slam, teammate Ulu Kelekoma, Warrior Sandy Pimental, and Menehune Tia Koerte, Lynette Perreira, Kodi Oyama and Alexis Nawai have all banged out home runs in their first 6 contests.

Kaua’i first baseman Jenna Mercado has driven in a KIF-topping 11 RBIs while Raider lead-off batter Ashley Silva can add a league-best 11 hits and 6 stolen bases to her resume.

In the pitching department, Menehune Lynette Perreira leads all hurlers with 5 wins (5-1) while Manintin sports a perfect winning percentage at 3-0.

Perreira has started all 6 Waimea contests with 4 complete games to her credit. The strong right-hander sports a KIF-best 0.70 earned run average and .198 on-base against percentage in 30 innings of mound duty. Having thrown 236 of 359 pitches for strikes against 122 batters faced in the first round, Perreira has given up only 22 hits and 11 runs (3 earned) while recording 12 strikeouts. Raider Sheri Gebauer tops the KIF with 14 Ks in only 11-2/3 innings.

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