Six champs emerge from Hanapepe showers

HANAPEPE — Pete Hoffmann was a success story for Kona Gold.

That was until yesterday at the 33rd Annual Hawai‘i State Senior Citizens Softball Tournament when Kona Gold went up against Hilo Pomaikai for the championship of the A Bracket.

Hoffmann, the chair of the Hawai‘i County Council, had a walk-off triple for a 14-13 comeback over Bad Company on the opening day and followed that with another three-bagger in the bottom of the seventh against East Kaua‘i, Wednesday. The 11-year senior softball veteran also went on to score the margin of victory in Kona Gold’s 18-17 win.

Hilo Pomaikai, seeded second in the Big Island conference, got past the top-seeded Kona Gold 12-9 to clinch one of six champion spots at the tournament which got some cooling from passing showers.

Kaua‘i, the tournament host, got its share of medals as three teams finished in third place.

East Kaua‘i, top seeded on the island, was one of Hoffmann’s victims when Hoffmann conked a triple in the bottom of the seventh inning, Wednesday, and went on to score the margin of victory as Kona Gold downed EK 18-17.

But East Kaua‘i rebounded to stay ahead of the Onomea Rangers for a 12-7 edge and lay claim to third place in the A bracket.

Lihu‘e, with Dwight Fujii in the coaches’ box, was the second Kaua‘i team to take third place as it exploded for an 18-7 win over Kohala in the B Bracket.

Kawaihau, battling in the F bracket, laid claim to third place with a win over the Raiders, although no scores could be obtained for that matchup.

Honomu Rockets finished undefeated in the tournament with a 10-7 win over the Waimea Paniolos for the title in B bracket, the Paniolos finishing the tournament 3-1.

Similarly, Xpress handed the Big Island Iron Birds their first defeat of the tournament with a 19-5 showing for the championship of C bracket, the Xpress finishing 4-0 over the Iron Birds’ 3-1 record.

West Kaua‘i left the field with a heartbreak after its 9-6 loss to Gomes Trucking for third place honors in D bracket.

Hui Ohana was a 13-2 winner over the Yankees for the championship of that bracket, Hui Ohana leaving with a perfect 4-0 showing while the Yankees take a 2-2 record out of Hanapepe Stadium.

Hamakua Coast went undefeated in E bracket, the only bracket where no playoffs took place.

Following its 13-8 showing over Hui Na Kolohe, Hamakua Coast finished undefeated at 5-0 for first place in that division followed by the Monarchs at 4-1. Kuku’s Aces, with a solid 21-5 showing over Matsumoto, yesterday, locked in third place with a 3-2 record.

Kawaihau players claimed that the Maui Aces, seeded seventh on Maui, had a lot of long balls, and the batters may have used them yesterday when it flew over Kipu Upu U, 21-8 for the championship in F bracket.

Pat Baniaga, the Kaua‘i coordinator, got some help from the county’s Parks and Recreation Department as six fields were created for the 46 teams that assembled for three days of competitive softball in Hanapepe.

“After all this, I can do tournaments in my sleep,” the exhausted Baniaga said.

A full recap of the tourna ment can be found in today’s Scoreboard above.

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