KALAHEO — A Kekaha Indians’ rally came up a run short as the Kalawai Yankees’ took a 9-8 victory in the playoffs for the West Kaua‘i Bronco series Thursday night.
Kawehi Ephan showed her versatility for the Indians as she nailed an RBI single in the seventh frame after a frustrating afternoon of just getting the tip in her three other at-bats.
That seventh-inning bang scored Pono Rull who drew first on one of three walks issued by Mikeo Rita in that inning, and was one of three runs chalked up by the Indians who were chasing four runs entering the frame.
With two outs, Keanu Remata, drawing first on another walk, scored on a passed ball. Mikah Wisneski drove in the final run with an RBI single up the middle to score Ephan, the final Kekaha run.
Earlier, the game see-sawed between the two tenacious teams as Kekaha opened with two runs by Rull and Alika Emayo only to be answered by the Yankees’ Mana Sagocio, Travis Soares and Rita pushing Kalawai ahead 3-2 after one complete inning.
The Indians answered in the second with scores from Storm Magsanay, Jeff Rasmussen and Remata for the 5-3 lead that stood until the third inning.
Shosho Ogawa started the fireworks that resulted in four Yankee runs crossing the plate in the frame that came on just one bunt single by Ogawa.
In the bunt, BJ Freitas Jr., drawing first on a walk, crossed the plate. Ogawa tied the contest at 5-5 when he scored on a squeeze play followed by Vaughn Thompson scoring on a Kekaha error trying to pick him off at thirdbase. Josh Flores, drawing first on another walk, scored the final Yankee run in the third on a passed ball for the 7-5 bulge to set the stage for an exciting fourth frame.
Kalawai advanced their lead two runs with a double sliding score from Rita and firstbase Kalen Iwai on a sacrifice bunt from Freitas with no outs.
That gave the Yankees a 9-5 lead that stood until the seventh frame when the Indians found their second wind.
The Yankees worked their win with eight hits for the nine runs while Kekaha earned their eight runs on five hits including a triple from Emayo in the first inning. He finished 2-4.
Kaela Lanning, Ephan and Wisneski rounded out the Indians’ bats.
Rita, who pitched a one-hitter in their Tuesday match against Waimea, closed for the Yankees, taking over for Iwai in the second inning.
He also led the Yankee bats with a 2-4 showing including a double and a single. Soares had a double in his 1-4 showing. Sagocio, Freitas, and Ogawa all finished with singles.