KALAHEO — Jensen Koga hit a two-run homer and threw 10 strike outs, but Lihu‘e 1 couldn’t close the door, Sunday in the Pony Baseball double-header.
The undefeated Lihu‘e 1 squad finished in a 4-4 tie against Kalawai in eight innings as time expired.
Earlier, Lihu‘e 2’s Mason Manera scored off a Kekaha miscue on a pickoff at third base, but the effort fell short as Kekaha claimed a 9-8 win in six innings of the Sunday opener at Kalawai Park.
Chase Parongao, infielder for the Hanapepe Cubs, said their matchup against Kapa‘a ended with Hanapepe winning 9-7 at the New Kapa‘a Town Park.
Pitching has been the mainstay of the Lihu‘e 1, undefeated in the first round, and picking up its first tie, Sunday.
In addition to Jensen’s pitching, he finished 3-4 against Kalawai with his 2-RBI homerun and a pair of singles.
On the mound, Jensen went seven innings for 10 strikeouts while giving up five hits and walking none. Travis Koga closed in the eighth with one hit given up to K. Iwai, a lead-off double, but striking out two.
Bobby Texeira, coach for the Lihu‘e 1 team, said Kalawai had the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth with no outs, but could not cash in a run to end the contest on the time limit.
Earlier in the season, Texeira said Jensen had an awesome performance against the Hanapepe Cubs on May 11.
In that contest, Jensen whiffed 13 batters in a complete game for the win. He allowed just three hits and walked five for the 10-3 win.
Pitching continued to play a factor in Lihu‘e 1’s string of victories as Texeira said in its game against Kapa‘a on May 15, Tyrin Texeira pitched five innings with five strikeouts, no walks and gave up just four hits for the 7-0 win. Matt Ebueng came in to close for two innings with a total of six strikeouts, no walks and allowing just one hit.
An interference call and a walk put two batters on base for Lihu‘e 2 in the sixth inning. At that point, Lihu‘e 2 was chasing three runs, 9-6, with just one out.
A Kekaha error pushed two runners across the plate, but in the confusion and a late reaction by the Lihu‘e 2 base runner at third base saw the officials resolve the issue when the second runner was ruled out due to the bottleneck at thirdbase.
Manera, quick on the trigger, capitalized on a throwing error on his attempt to steal third, and scored on the play, with two outs.
That brought Lihu‘e 2 to a 9-8 showing and the Kekaha dugout heaped encouragement on its pitcher, Alika Emayo who proceeded to strike out the final batter as time ran out.
Those results set the stage for Thursday’s matchup when Lihu‘e 1 meets Lihu‘e 2 at Vidinha Stadium. Kalawai will travel to Kekaha and Waimea visits Hanapepe in the other two games.