Tuesday, May 24, 2022 |
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LIHU‘E — The Red Raiders have had no room for error over the past few weeks, winning four straight games to force a playoff for the first-round title. Wednesday, that win streak was increased to five as Kaua‘i took the first round with a 6-4 playoff win over the Waimea Menehune at Vidinha Stadium.
Kaua‘i took advantage of its limited opportunities, coming up with just five hits on the day. Three of those hits came in the first inning, when the Raiders jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
Erin Doi got the scoring started with a two-out RBI double, plating Hank “Kawika” Ibia, who had gotten aboard with a single and stole a base. Austin Oshiro scored the Raiders’ second run after reaching on a walk and Kellen Aquino came through with an RBI single, while Doi crossed home for the third run of the inning.
Neither team managed to score again until the bottom of the third, when Kaua‘i moved ahead 4-0. Oshiro led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch. Courtesy runner Nicholas Vallatini stole second base and was then sacrificed to third by Doi. Vallatini raced home on a wild pitch as the Raiders plated their run without the aid of a base hit.
Waimea got on the board in the top of the fourth, as Alika Emayo and Jordan Kamakea led off the inning with back-to-back singles. With runners at the corners, Shawn Tavares knocked in Emayo on a fielder’s choice to make it a 4-1 game. Bryson Tacata had an infield single and Kaimana Perreira-Alquiza walked to load the bases with two outs, but the Raiders picked off Perreira-Alquiza at first base to end the threat.
The Menehune cut into the deficit again in the top of the fifth. Courtesy runner Jae Delos Reyes was on second base with two outs and was driven home on an RBI single for Emayo, making the score 4-2.
In the bottom half of the inning, Kaua‘i got that run back when Ibia led off with a walk and was sacrificed over to second by Travis Koga. Oshiro followed with a single to left, putting runners at the corners. Doi laid down a sac bunt that brought home Ibia for the 5-2 lead.
The game tightened in the top of the sixth, as Tavares led off with a double. With one out, Tacata reached first base on an error, but Tavares was thrown out at the plate attempting to score from second.
Perreira-Alquiza came through with a single to right field and Tacata scored on a Kaua‘i error to cut the deficit to 5-3.
Mikey Rita came on to run for Perreira-Alquiza and quickly scored on an RBI single to center field for Mikeo Rita, moving Waimea to within one run at 5-4.
The Raiders again answered back as Shea Shimabukuro led off the bottom of the sixth with a triple to left-center field. He came home on a wild pitch to up the lead back to a pair at 6-4.
Waimea had the tying runs aboard in the seventh, as Emayo came through with a two-out single and Kamakea was hit by a pitch. Pinch-hitter Brock Ephan came to the plate as the go-ahead run and drove the ball to deep center, but not quite deep enough as the Kaua‘i fielder got under it for the final out and the first-round championship.
Shimabukuro went the distance on the mound for the victory, throwing 7.0 innings, giving up four runs (two earned) on 14 hits, walking one and striking out three.
Perreira-Alquiza took the loss, throwing 1+ innings and giving up three runs (two earned) on three hits and three walks.
Shylen Keuma came on in relief in the second inning and went 6.0 innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on two hits while walking three and striking out four.
No Raider had multiple hits as Ibia, Aquino and Oshiro all singled, Doi doubled and Shimabukuro had the triple for Kaua‘i’s five hits. Doi had a pair of RBIs and Aquino drove in one.
Emayo went 3 for 4 with a run and an RBI for Waimea. Mikeo Rita was 2 for 4 with an RBI and Kamakea was 2 for 4. Tacata went 2 for 3 with a run scored, while Chyson Soares was 2 for 4 with a stolen base. Perreira-Alquiza, Keuma and Tavares each finished with one hit.
The second round will begin Saturday, when the Kapa‘a Warriors (0-6) head to Lihu‘e to face the Kaua‘i Red Raiders (5-1-1) in a doubleheader at Vidinha Stadium.
First pitch is set for 10 a.m.
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