KAPA’A — Waimea base-ball players were only a few years old during the last time the Menehune won a KIF baseball title.
But yesterday, Waimea erased 12 seasons of heart-ache to capture its first state berth since 1994, with an 11-3 win over the Warriors.
“I’m happy for the team. Coming into this season we expected to do it, but it was a tough road,” Waimea coach Kelly Robinson said.
Led by “Bully” Pancho’s four RBI’s, the Menehune jumped on Kapa’a from the start, opening up a 7-2 lead in the third inning.
Waimea pitcher Kelly Batis was masterful once again, picking up the complete game victory. Menehune catcher Brenden Hew gave his team a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single, scoring Quinton Natividad. Kapa’a answered in its half of the first, as starting pitcher Travis Shigeta and Jetson Wakuta nailed sacrifice fly RBI’s, scoring Kahai Nakano and Travis Nakamura. Waimea’s Max Agor crossed the plate on a wild pitch, which tied the contest up at 2-2. C.J. Jacinto came in for relief of Shigeta, but the Menehune pounced on the right hander for five more runs. Robert Perreira scored on a Keith Nonaka walk with the bases juiced and Pancho smacked a 3 RBI triple, allowing Nonaka, Troy Yamase, and Agor to score. Pancho touched home plate on a wild pitch for the 7-2 advantage after three innings.
In the fourth, Natividad scored on a wild pitch for the 8-2 Waimea bulge. Then in the fifth, Pancho cracked an RBI single to rightfield, scoring Agor, who missed out on a homerun to left by a few inches.
Kapa’a’s Nakano ripped an RBI single, scoring Hadley, with the Menehune up 9-3.
Head umpire Joe Bertucci exited the game at the start of the sixth inning due to a heart condition. Shapa Ramos took over the rest of the way for Bertucci, who was taken to Wilcox Hospital for precautionary measures. The delay didn’t cool off Menehune bats, as Brandon Hashimoto smacked an RBI single, scoring Perreira and Reggie Vigilia got into the score books, with a run off a wild pitch for the 11-3 final. Shigeta suffered the loss for the Warriors, who dropped to 0-9 on the season. The Menehune, who also won the first round, are 10-1 overall and 5-0 in second round play.
The newly crowned KIF champions snapped Kaua’i’s title streak at three.
The Menehune will now head off to the HHSAA State Base-ball Tournament on May 17-20 at Iron Maehara Stadium on Maui.
“We still have to work on our weaknesses and the basics as well,” Robinson said referring to his team’s preparation for states. KIF baseball takes its last Saturday doubleheader to Vidinha Stadium, with Kaua’i battling Kapa’a, starting at 10 a.m.
The KIF baseball finale is set for Wednesday, as the Menehune finish off against the Red Raiders at 2:45 p.m.