Hanapepe clinches AJA title with win

HANAPEPE – Tyrus Matsumoto and Russell Ijima combined on a seven hitter and Wendall Nonaka drove in four runs as Hanapepe fended off Kapa’a 11-4 Sunday afternoon at Hanapepe Ball Park.

The victory culminated a four-game win streak and wrapped up the 2003 Kaua’i AJA (Americans of Japanese Ancestry) baseball title and lone league state tournament berth for the Rivermen.

Hanapepe jumped out to a 3-0 first inning advantage as Dean Nonaka, Nolan Albarado, and Derrick Lincoln opened the contest with singles off Kapa’a starter Owen Koishigawa and cashed in on a Wendall Nonaka sacrifice fly and Tyrus Matsumoto two-run double.

Kapa’a answered with a run in the home half as Gordon Muramaru was plunked with an errant delivery, advanced to second on Ikaika Pezarios solid single, moved to third on a wild pitch, and raced in on a Sean Hiranaka sac fly to center.

The Rivermen upped their lead with a three-run second frame on an Albarado sac fly and (Wendall) Nonaka 2-RBI single to the left center field gap.

Hanapepe made it 7-1 in the fourth as Albarado singled off reliever Allan Mundon, raced to second on a pitch to the backstop, and plated on a Kapa’a fielding error.

Kapa’a answered with a run in the fifth as Kalani Miyashiro reached on a fielding miscue, stole second, and raced in on a pair of errant infield tosses.

The Rivermen countered as Albarado drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the frame to tally Matsumoto for an 8-2 edge before Kapa’a, who needed a victory to remain in the title hunt, began to show its mettle.

The visitors countered with solo runs in the sixth and seventh innings to close within four before Hanapepe first baseman Derrick Lincoln dramatically put things out of reach with a ringing two-out 3-run double just beyond the reach of diving center fielder Ikaika Pezario in the bottom of the seventh.

Ijima allowed only one hit over the final three innings to close things out for the Rivermen, who improved to 6-1 with one game left on their regular season schedule.

Muramaru moved from first to pitch a scoreless eighth frame for Kapa’a.

Leading hitters for Hanapepe included Matsumoto (3-5, double, 2 RBIs, run), Lincoln (2-5, double, 3 RBIs, run), D. Nonaka (1-3, HBP, walk, stolen base, 3 runs), Albarado (2-4, sac fly, walk, 2 RBIs, 3 runs), and W. Nonaka (1-3, sac fly, 4 RBIs).

Pezario (2-4, RBI) paired hits in a losing effort while teammate Kalani Miyashiro doubled and scored a run to spearhead the Kapa’a offense.

Following an upcomin bye weekend, Hanapepe will play its final regular season contest against Kalaheo on March 23 before flying to the Big Island to represent Kaua’i in the State AJA Baseball Tournament on April 5-6.

Kalaheo 12 Makaweli 1 (6-1/2 innings)

Kaneshiro Farms hurler Duane Miyasato methodically scattered five singles and struck out four over seven innings as Kalaheo broke open a tight 3-1 third inning advantage with an eight-hit, 9-run fifth frame to cruise to victory in the nightcap.

Keola McCallum singled home Troy Kaneshiro, aboard with a lead-off double, to give Kalaheo a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.

Makaweli tied things up in the second frame as Royce Ijima went the other way to drive in Mike Shimatsu, who had singled.

Kalaheo jumped back in front in the home half on a Kaneshiro run-scoring single and added another in the third on Brandon Ishibashis RBI-ground-out to the right side.

Kaneshiro Farms jumped out to a 8-1 lead as the home squad sent 10 men to the plate in the fifth against Indian starter Mike Shimatsu before a change was effected to bring in reliever Jason Nakata with two outs. An infield throwing error, 2-RBI Kainoa Santos single-to-right and run-scoring Shannon Oketani base hit accounted for the final four runs in the frame.

Leading Kalaheo hitters were Kaneshiro (3-4, double, walk, RBI, 2 runs), Liko Perreira (2-4, stolen base, RBI, 2 runs), McCallum (1-3, walk, 2 RBIs, 2 runs), Santos (2-4, stolen base, 3 RBIs, run), and Lance Higashi (2-4, stolen base, 2 RBIs, 2 runs).

Isaac Castillo, Leighton Otoman, Shimatsu, Trent Shimabukuro, and Ijima singled for the Indians.

Action continues on Sunday at the Vidinha Stadium diamond as Lihu’e (1-5) tackles Kalaheo (3-3) in the 10 a.m. opener and Kapa’a (4-3) takes on Makaweli (2-4) at 1 p.m.

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