WAIMEA — Waimea’s Garrett Beyer scored twice and had three long balls, including one critical RBI, Sunday.
Beyer’s hitting combined with the pitching of Wyatt Taniguchi to lock up a 4-3 edge over Kapa‘a in the PONY baseball playoffs that took place at the Waimea Canyon Park amidst periods of swirling dust raised by the gusty trades that intermittently played havoc with the fielders from both sides.
The Waimea win advances the team to the league semifinals where it meets top seeded Lihu‘e 1 in a 4:15 p.m. matchup at Vidinha Stadium, Wednesday.
The second semifinal game will pit Hanapepe Cubs, an 18-5 winner over Kekaha, Sunday, against Kalawai who blanked Lihu‘e 2, 18-0 on a Mikeo Rita no-hitter at the Kalawai field, Sunday. Both teams square off starting at 4:15 p.m. at the Kalawai Park.
Winners from Wednesday’s game will meet for the playoff championship game, Sunday starting at 10 a.m.
Waimea lost little time getting on board as Taniguchi opened up the scorebooks in the bottom of the first inning with an in-the-park home run to centerfield.
With the wind whisking up dust, Taniguchi beat the throw to the plate for the early 1-0 bulge.
Kapa‘a, playing with just nine players on the field, kept the lead in check when shortstop Bronson Aiwohi executed a smart play on a fielder’s choice, firing to catcher Mick Voigt to stifle Chance Ta‘ala’s scoring attempt on a K.J. Morikawa bat.
Beyer opened the second inning with a solid two-bagger and scored on an RBI single off Niko Parinas-Kenney with two outs to up the score.
Kapa‘a entered the fray in the sixth inning when Taniguchi’s pitching performance faltered in the gusty trades.
Voigt started things off with two outs by banging into an ITP homer followed by Kapa‘a pitcher Kekoa Alfiler gaining first after being hit by a pitch.
First baseman Jakey Alves tied the contest with an RBI double to score Alfiler for the 2-2 tie.
“All it takes is one bad inning,” said Larry Carveiro who was watching his grandson Tanner Fernandez play in the catcher’s position for Waimea. “Two outs and they can’t close the door.”
With Alves in scoring position at second base, Derrick Yamane drew first on a walk. The walk was one of three given up by Taniguchi in the game. On a pickoff attempt at third base, Alves came home for the 3-2 lead on a Waimea error before Taniguchi finally closed the page by getting the third out on a strike out.
Morikawa, with one out, got aboard after being hit by a pitch, and with two away, tied the contest when Beyer came up with an RBI double.
Nahe Manoi-Resinto, Waimea’s first baseman, delivered the go-ahead with an RBI single to score Morikawa. The feat drew praise from the Waimea coaching staff after Manoi-Resinto entered as a substitution in the third inning where he flied out to deep leftfield.
Taniguchi went the distance on the mound to pick up the win, earning his 10th strike out of the game as Kapa‘a’s final batter went down swinging.
On the mound, Taniguchi had a no-hitter going until the fourth inning when he gave up his first of three hits to Alfiler.
The other two hits came in the sixth inning, one being to Voigt and the other to Alves.
He finished by walking three Kapa‘a batters.