Rebuilding seems to be the key word for the Kaua’i High School softball team this season.
“The girls are really working hard. We’re still juggling players in and out due to injuries,” Kaua’i head coach Jacque Inouye said.
The defending champion Red Raider (0-0) squad opens up their title defense today against Kapa’a (0-1) at Isenberg Field. The first of a doubleheader will commence at 2 p.m.
Last season, Kaua’i and Waimea battled for the KIF title, with Kapa’a in the basement. This year looks to mirror that, as the Menehune (1-0) struck down the Warriors, 18-7 in the KIF softball opener on Wednesday.
The Red Red Raiders lost three key components from last year, their ace, Sherri Gebauer, their catcher, Ulu Kelekoma, firstbaseman, Ashley Nonaka, and tough-as-nails hitter, A.J. Silva.
But in place of Gebauer and Kelekoma are Wailana Borrero on the mound and Sam Koga behind the plate.
Borrero is still recovering from an injury and is currently going through physical therapy. However, the freshman ace should be ready to go.
Also nursing injuries are Ku’ulei Manintin and Robin Jose.
“We’re just trying to get back in there,” Inouye said.
Top returnees include Koga, Darcie Allianic, Angela Kirchner, Jose, and Randi Oketani.
“We knew coming into this season we’d be pretty strong at certain infield and outfield positions,” Inouye said.
According to Inouye, the team that makes the least amount of mistakes will win the KIF this year.
“Waimea has always been a hard hitting team and Kapa’a is stepping it up this year. It’s going to be an interesting season,” Inouye said.
KIF softball is up to bat today at 2 p.m., as the Red Raiders face Kapa’a at Isenberg Field in doubleheader action.
- Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or email@example.com.