Lihu‘e 1 top seed as PONY starts playoffs, today

Lihu‘e 1 earned the top seed for the PONY Baseball League following its 7-6 win over the Hanapepe Cubs, Thursday.

With the No. 1 seed, Lihu‘e 1 draws a bye as three games open the playoff series, today at different fields across the island.

Kalawai solidified his No. 2 seeding with a 15-6 win over Lihu‘e 2, Thursday and will be in action against Lihu‘e 2 (0-12), No. 7 seed, starting at 10 a.m. at the Kalawai Park. Kalawai finished the regular season 8-3-1, its tie coming in a 4-4 deadlock in eight innings with Lihu‘e 1 (11-0-1) in a time limit contest several weeks ago.

Hanapepe, with its heartbreaker loss to Lihu‘e 1, picks up the No. 3 seed with an 8-4 record and will host Kekaha, No. 6 seed with a 3-9 record at the Hanapepe Stadium starting at 10 a.m.

Waimea, shuting down Kapa‘a 4-0 during Thursday’s final season game, is the No. 4 seed with a 6-6 record and will host Kapa‘a (5-7), No. 5 seed at the Waimea Canyon Park starting at 10 a.m.

Following the results of Sunday’s playoffs, Lihu‘e 1 will play the winner of the Kapa‘a/Waimea match and the winner of the Lihu‘e 2/Kalawai game will meet the winner of the Kekaha/Hanapepe match. Both games will start at 4:15 p.m. at fields to be determined.

The winners of the Wednesday game will meet on June 15 for the playoff championship starting at 10 a.m.

According to PONY Baseball official Dondi Viquelia, if Lihu‘e 1 advances to win the playoff series, the June 15 game will be the final game.

If any other team advances to win the playoff series, a championship game at a neutral field will be played on June 18 starting at 4:15 p.m.

Lihu‘e 1 coach Bobby Texeira credited his team’s success to the combination of strong pitching and hitting.

“The hitters give the pitching the run support and are vital to the team’s success so far this season,” Texeira said in an e-mail.

Matt Ebueng pitched two of the three games between May 25 and June 1, giving up a total nine strikeouts while allowing seven hits and just one walk, that sole walk coming against Kekaha on June 1.

Ebueng picked up the 10-1 win against Waimea on May 25 in six inning with six strike outs, while giving up four hits and no walks.

In that game, Ebueng got help from Kellen Aquino who pitched the seventh inning, giving up two hits while striking out one with no walks.

Against Kekaha, Ebueng went two innings with three strike outs, a walk, but threw a no-hitter.

Tyrin Texeira came in to close in two innings with two strike outs and a walk while giving up one hit in the 14-1 Lihu‘e 1 victory.

Jensen Koga, who also doubles as a strong bat for the Lihu‘e 1, went four innings in a make-up game, May 27 against Lihu‘e 2. Jensen picked up the win in four innings with a no-hitter while striking out nine and giving up a walk.

In the batter’s box, Jensen had two RBIs on a homerun and a single.

Kawika Ibia finished in three innings with three hits allowed and no runs or walks.

Ibia’s bat also notched a double and a single in that 6-0 win. Isaac Ramboyan ended with a triple and an RBI double while Brycen Hiranaka rounded out the win with a two-bagger.

For Lihu‘e 2, Keenan Anacleto went the distance for the liss, giving up eight hits with four strike outs and no walks. Mason Manera, Kalen Chang and Leighton Medina each singled for Lihu‘e 2.

Jensen and Erin Doi each notched RBI in the May 25 win over Waimea, lending support to Austin Oshiro who finished with two RBI on three singles. Aquino followed with a triple and two singles with Hiranaka ending with a pair of doubles and Ramboyan singling.

In the June 1st match against Kekaha, Travis Koga topped the lumberyard with a 2-RBI triple. Ebueng followed with a 2-RBI double and a single while Hiranaka and Aquino singled.

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