LIHU’E – You know it’s a big game when the infield is freshly adorned with the school logo, Mike Koerte shows up with a sound system and fresh tunes, and the stands on both sides of the field are filled with fans eagerly anticipating a classic showdown between two highly competitive prep softball teams.
The first round champion Waimea Menehune used all of the above to their full advantage as they swept an anticlimactic 13-1 and 9-3 Saturday double-header against the spirited Red Raiders to clinch at least a tie for the Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation softball second round of play with one game remaining on their schedule.
Game 1: Waimea 13, Kaua’i 1 (4-1/2 innings). The Menehune abruptly broke open a tight 2-1 pitching duel in the home half of the fourth with 11 runs against three Raider hurlers and recorded their third defensive double play in the fifth to close out the opener early.
Waimea sent 15 batters to the plate against Raider starter Ana Quibilan and relievers Sherri Gebauer and Ku’ulei Manintin, and scored all 11 runs after two outs were recorded in the deciding frame.
Leading the Menehune charge were Ashley Mier (3-4, 2 RBIs, 2 runs), Melissa Moreno (2-2, sac bunt, RBI, run), and Ashley Lazaro (1-1, 2 walks, RBI, 2 runs). Also scoring in pinch running appearances were Jessica Rita, Jenalyn Andres, and Fiana Moe.
Ashley Silva, Ulu Kelekoma (stolen base, run), Angela Kirchner (RBI), Darcie Allianic, and Gebauer each singled in two plate appearances for Kaua’i.
Lynette Perreira limited the Raiders on 5 hits and 3 walks in 5 innings to raise her record to 7-2.
Quibilan, who had two previous wins against the Menehune in three tries, took the loss.
Game 2: Waimea 9, Kaua’i 3. Menehune ace Lynette Perreira picked up her league-leading eighth victory with a 2-hit complete game effort as Waimea jumped out to a 9-0 lead after two innings and held on to improve to 9-2 overall and 4-1 in second round play.
Facing a 1-0 deficit, Waimea took advantage of consecutive walks, a fielding error, a hit batter, Elena Souza’s perfect sacrifice, and a Daeleen Perreira sac fly to take a 3-1 lead into the second.
After the Raiders trimmed the lead on a Gebauer sacrifice fly to right that plated Allianic, the Menehune countered with a 6-run home half on 4 singles, a trio of miscues in the field, and 3 walks to put this one away.
Kodi Oyama (game-high 2 RBIs) and Melissa Moreno paired hits for the victors, and Oyama, Mier, and Alexis Nawai each scored twice. Waimea first baseman D. Perreira went 1-2 with a double, sac fly, and RBI.
Allianic (2 runs scored, 2 stolen bases) and Gebauer (sac fly, RBI) both singled for the visitors.
L. Perreira improved to 8-2 on the year and limited the visitors to 3 runs (1 earned) on 2 singles and 4 walks.
Quibilan went all the way for Kaua’i and allowed 9 runs (4 earned) on 6 hits and 4 walks in 6 innings on the hill. Both squads committed 4 errors in the contest.
“We concentrated on three things at this past week’s practice – attitude, our mental game, and execution,” Menehune head coach Pat Baniaga said following the game two victory, “I think they were successful today because of their hard work. If anything, now they believe they can be the best as long as they sacrifice and dedicate themselves.”
“We have one more big game and can not take Kapa’a cheap. I told them after the contest that were going to have to play, if anything, a little harder next Wednesday.”
Waimea can clinch the second round crown and the overall league title on Wednesday, Jan. 22, as they travel to the Kapa’a Ball Park for their regular season finale with the Warriors (0-9. 0-3) in a 5:30 p.m. contest.
The Red Raiders, who dropped to 6-4 overall and 2-2 in second round play, close out the KIF softball regular season with a 1 p.m. home twin-bill against Kapa’a next Saturday, January 25. The later start time is attributed to SAT testing on that date.