LIHUE – Circle Jan. 18 on your sporting calendars right now – the Kaua’i Red Raiders got a stellar 7-hit shutout performance from junior hurler Ana Quibilan and some timely hitting to pull out a thrilling 2-0 Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation prep softball victory over the Waimea Menehune Wednesday evening at Isenberg Field.
With Menehune ace Lynette Perreira tossing a no-hitter, and Quibilan (with a win under her belt over the Menehune in the first round of play) locked into the proverbial nail-biting pitcher’s duel, one could almost hear a pin drop through the first 4-1/2 innings of scoreless play as the lucky 125 fans in attendance watched anxiously.
Both squads battled through some base running jitters early in the contest, and the first round champs just missed getting on the scoreboard in the fourth as Perreira and Tia Koerte notched one-out singles. A sac bunt chance by Elena Souza was thrown too late in an attempt to catch Perreira going to third but a subsequent fly out to Ashley Silva in center field was thrown perfectly to the plate to cut down the tagging runner.
In the bottom of the fifth frame, Raider Darcie Allianic drove a 3-2 pitch to center field for the first home hit of the contest, advanced to second on pinch hitter Ashley Nonaka’s groundout to the mound, and moved to third on a Kainoa Dejos high-chopping grounder off the plate. Lead-off Ashley Silva bounced a grounder to the left side and just beat out the relay as the Menehune had difficulty in locating the first base bag to cash in Allianic for a 1-0 advantage.
Menehune catcher Kodi Oyama doubled to open the sixth but could only get as far as the hot corner on a pair of Dejos-Jenna Mercado ground ball putouts as Quibilan, who looked strong and mixed pitches well throughout the contest, got a foul pop to catcher Ulu Kelekoma to leave the tying run aboard.
Kaua’i picked up a vital insurance run in the sixth as Kelekoma and Ku’ulei Manintin singled solidly to begin the frame. Designated hitter Angela Kirchner drove a solid single to left center to plate Kelekoma for the 2-0 lead but Perreira got out of further trouble as Manintin was cut down attempting to take third. Quibilan followed with a wicked line shot up the middle that was speared by Perreira for the second out. Allianic blooped her second hit of the ball game over first to move Kirchner to third but Perreira notched her second strikeout to end the threat.
Menehune first baseman Daeleen Perreira singled to open the seventh but, in seven pitches; Quibilan got an infield pop fly, fielder’s choice ground out, and a short fly to short to close the shutout victory.
In improving to 2-1 on the season, Quibilan limited the Menehune to 7 hits in 24 official at-bats, and walked only 1 batter.
“Ana did an awesome job tonight,” a very hoarse Raider head coach Jacqueline Inouye said. “We always count on her and she comes in and gets the job done. As far as attitude-wise, our girls are outstanding. They come in every day and we talk about itattitude, hustle, and respect. Until the umpire says game over, youve got to keep pushing it and thats what the girls do everyday at practice. They worked really, really hard tonight for this win.”
“We love our parents and our fans, they were vital for us this evening. From preseason until now, they have come out in numbers and we really appreciate it.”
Perreira, who has figured in every Waimea decision, was equally as impressive in defeat, giving up 7 singles in 24 Raider plate appearances with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts.
Allianic paired hits (going 2-3) and scored a run for the victors.
Koerte also singled twice in three chances for the Menehune, who fell to 5-2 overall and 0-1 in second round play.
Waimea will host the Kapaa Warriors (0-6, 0-0) in a Saturday, Jan. 11, noon double-header at Waimea Canyon Park.
On Saturday, Jan. 18, the Menehune and Raiders clash in their pivotal final meetings of the regular season, a noon twin-bill that may well decide second round KIF supremacy.