LIHU‘E — They treated it like a championship game and they played like a championship team, as Waimea ace Kelly Batis shut down the Red Raiders for the 6-4 win, yesterday at the Vidinha Stadium Ballpark.
“All season long, we know that our biggest opponent is ourselves. If we take care of our own business, we’ll do fine. We’ve got the older of the three squads and they stepped it up big time,” Waimea coach Kelly Robinson said.
Batis, who’s considered by his coaches and teammates as a happy-go-lucky type of guy, managed to get serious at the right time, in his complete game win. After the Red Raiders scored four runs in the first three innings, Batis slammed the door shut and allowed no runs the rest of the way.
“At practice we worked on throwing strikes. I guess it’s paying off. He’s our go-to-guy now,” Robinson said.
Senior thirdbaseman Isaac Castillo, who’s considered by many throughout the state to be one of the top prep prospects in Hawai‘i, answered the challenge with a huge two-out RBI in the sixth frame, which ultimately turned out to be the game-winning hit for the Menehune.
“I dont think he gets the credit that’s due to him. He just takes it in stride. It’s easy to have players like him. I don’t have to coach or motivate him,” Robinson said.
Up next for the first-place Menehune (3-1) are the Warriors (0-3) on Saturday for all the beans in the kettle.
Waimea needs to win both games to clinch the KIF’s first round title.
The Red Raiders, who are now 3-2 have to hope the Menehune lose at least one game on Saturday to stay in contention for the first round championship.
If Kapa‘a is able to take one game from Waimea, then the Warriors and Red Raiders will finish off their suspended game from March 22, in which Kaua‘i leads, 9-5 in the second inning. If Kaua‘i wins that game, they’ll take the title, but if they falter, the Menehune will reign as the title holders.
“Kapa‘a isn’t a pushover. They played us tough the last time,” Robinson said.
In yesterday’s contest, Waimea jumped ahead early, with an RBI sacrifice fly by Castillo, which scored Mason Lorenzo, who reached base on a walk.
In the second inning, Waimea tacked on another run off of pitcher Trent Allianic, with Brad Frasco scoring on an Aaron Adachi throwing error.
Kaua‘i answered in its half of the second, as Allianic helped himself out with an RBI double, scoring Schyler Arakaki-Ibia. Castillo ended Kaua‘i’s second, with a nice defensive play, stopping Jett Jasper’s hit attempt.
In the third, Kaua‘i climbed ahead, 4-2, thanks to Stanton Yoshimori’s RBI double, Jon Gebauer’s bunt, which scored Yoshimori, and Arakaki-Ibia’s RBI single, which brought home Gebauer.
Both pitchers clamped down in the fourth inning, allowing no runs, but in the fifth, Waimea knotted up the contest at 4-4, behind Batis’ RBI single, scoring Quinton Natividad and Castillo’s heads up base running tied the score.
Earlier in the inning, Arakaki-Ibia flashed some nice leather with a nice grab at firstbase, which prevented a Menehune hit.
Natividad also showed off his defensive prowess, with a nice stab at secondbase off of a Jordan Leanio attempt.
Castillo busted out with the game-winning hit in the sixth, battling on a 3-2 count with two outs.
In the seventh, Waimea added an insurance run, as Frasco belted a triple towards centerfield and Reggie Vigilia slapped an RBI double, sending Frasco home for the 6-4 advantage.
Batis put the finishing touches in the seventh on a masterful performance for the complete game win. Allianic suffered the loss.
“We expected it to be a tough game. It feels the same (after the win). We’re not going to be comfortable until it’s over. I think it was a complete team effort,” Robinson said.
- Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or email@example.com.