HANAPEPE — Mikeo Rita, the Kalawai Yankees’ pitcher, went the distance, throwing a one-hitter, to pace the Yankees to the West Kaua‘i Bronco title, yesterday at the Hanapepe Stadium complex.
Throwing before a crowd that sprawled along both outfield fences and cars that were lined all along the access road, Rita followed his superb pitching by going 2-4 in the batter’s box and scored three runs as the Yankees took a 9-1 victory and the title over the Kekaha Indians.
In his performance on the mound, Rita gave up one hit, a double from Pono Rull in the third inning, while striking out 11 Indians and walking two batters. This was a repeat performance from an earlier playoff game when he threw a one-hitter against the Waimea Blue Jays to advance the Yankees in the playoff series.
The Indians, looking a bit tired from their Big Island outing, went through four pitchers while trying to stifle the Yankee bats.
Kalawai went on to punch seven hits led by Rita (2-4) and Kalen Iwai (2-4), Iwai whacking a double in the third inning. Mana Sagocio, Kendall Kaohi and Vaughn Thompson chalked up hits in the win.
Rita was one of three runs that crossed the plate in the opening frame as he and Sagocio drew walks that came back to bite the Indians as both runners and Kaohi went on to score.
Shosho Ogawa, hit by a pitch, upped the ante in the second inning, scoring on an RBI double from Thompson for the 4-0 bulge.
Rita, singling to leftfield for the first of his two hits in the game, advanced to third on a steal and went on to score on a passed ball for the 5-0 mark. Thompson, drawing first on a walk in the fourth, upped the margin to 6-0 when he scored on another Indian passed ball.
Rita scored his third run in the fifth after singling to second and scoring on a Kekaha miscue. Thompson was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning, and pinch runner Eric Costa crossed the plate on another Kekaha error. Mana Sagocio, singling in the same inning, went on to score Kalawai’s final run.
Kekaha’s Storm Magsanay, hit by a pitch in the fifth inning, scored on a fielder’s choice play on batter Pono Rull for Kekaha’s only run.