LIHU‘E — For six innings the Kaua‘i Red Raider softball team had the Waimea Menehune on the ropes. The Red Raiders went into the seventh inning with a 6-4 lead over the undefeated Menehune, hoping to complete the upset and turn the tide of their season. For those six innings, the Red Raiders were as good as the Menehune.
Then came the seventh.
The Menehune Wahine exploded in the top of the seventh inning for eight runs, completing the comeback and putting an exclamation mark on a 12-6 win Saturday morning at Isenberg Park in Lihu‘e.
The Menehune kept the hot bats going in the second game of a doubleheader against the Red Raiders, as Taylor Ephan’s two homeruns led Waimea to a 19-11 win over the Red Raiders in game two.
After a back-and-forth first five innings in the first game, the Red Raiders commanded control in the bottom of the sixth. Kyana Hirokane led off the inning with a walk, which was followed by a single by Ka‘a La‘amea. The next batter, Daeja Cummings was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Karlyee Malapit.
Malapit slashed a single into right field to score Hirokane, and then two batters later, La‘amea scored on a Moana Waipa sacrifice fly to give the Red Raiders a 6-4 lead.
But the Menehune led off the seventh inning quickly, with the first three batters reaching base. Ephan, who led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on an error, was batted in by Gaylan Matagiese. The Menehune took the lead when Matagiese and Deannalynn Tafiti scored on a Bailey San Agustin-Nordmeier single.
The Menehune didn’t stop there, as Waimea sent 12 batters up to the plate in the inning while scoring three more runs.
The Red Raiders tried to muster a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, but Menehune pitcher Tafiti sent the Red Raiders down in order.
Tafiti pitched a complete game for the Menehune, while Kaua‘i’s starter La‘amea pitched six-plus innings of work.
The Menehune bats didn’t miss a beat beginning with Game 2. Waimea opened the second game of the doubleheader by scoring six runs in the first inning while sending 11 batters up to the plate.
The Menehune added two runs in the second, two in the fifth, six in the sixth and two more in the seventh to close the game with 17 runs. Cassandra Dupree, who homered in Game 1, added a three-run blast in the first inning.
The Red Raiders bats weren’t quite as hot as the Menehune’s, but they were certainly warm.
Kaua‘i scored three in the first, two in the second, and one in the third before a five-run fifth inning closed their scoring at 10 runs.
Malapit highlighted the Red Raiders’ game with a grandslam home run in the fifth inning.
• Tyson Alger, sports writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or by emailing talger@ thegardenisland.com. Follow him on twitter.com/tysonalger.