Tafiti powers Waimea comeback

KAPA‘A — Faced with a 3-2 deficit in the fifth inning, the defensive changes made by Waimea head coach Teddy Pereira paid off big Wednesday night.

Part of the change pulled shortstop Shana Tafiti behind the plate to control the infield and in the sixth inning, Tafiti’s big bat capped a 4-run inning to pull the Menehune in the lead, 6-4 en route to an eventual 9-5 victory in chilly trades.

The Menehune capitalized on a tiring Stephanie Kawamura as Kelsie Igne, hit by a pitch, scored on a squeeze play to lead off Waimea’s 3-run seventh.

Moani Durant hit into a bunt single to drive Jondi Horner across the plate, and faced with Tafiti behind the plate on a bases-loaded situation, Kawamura walked Tafiti for Waimea’s final run. Tatum Gonsalves crossed the plate, but not after getting life at first.

Earlier, Kapa‘a battled back against a 2-0 Waimea lead as Maka Ferreira drove Kawamura across the plate in the second frame and Leeanna Baltazar’s bat scored Loke Manaku in the third inning for the 2-2 stalemate.

Kapa‘a took the lead in the fifth as Kawamura drove Jocelyn Enrique across the plate for the first of two Warrior runs. Following the Waimea defensive changes, Kapa‘a finished the inning with Kuulei Smith, courtesy running for Kawamura, scored on a fielder’s choice off Ferreira’s hit to third base for the 4-2 Kapa‘a lead.

But after leaving a runner stranded on one hit in the fifth, Waimea rallied in the sixth inning, capitalizing on Kawamura.

Kawamura sent Ona Defabian, pinch hitting for Igne, to first with a hit-by-pitch, and couldn’t settle down in time as MarieBeth Watanabe drew first on a walk. With just one out, Waimea loaded the bases for Tafiti as Gonsalves got hit by a pitch.

Whitney Yadao drove Igne across followed by Kanani Mata walking to score Watanabe to tie the game and set the stage for Tafiti’s 2-RBI double.

The Waimea win at the New Kapa‘a Ball Park sets the stage for Saturday’s double-header in Waimea when the Menehune host the first-round leader Kaua‘i starting at 10 a.m. Waimea takes a 1-0 lead in the second round.

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