Red Raiders sweep doubleheader

LIHU‘E — It took seven innings before the Kaua‘i Red Raiders’ bats got hot in the first game of their doubleheader against Kapa‘a.

In the second game it took two pitches.

Following a first game in which the Red Raiders scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh innings to beat the Warriors 6-5, Kaua‘i, led by bat of Kellen Aquino and arm of Tyler Manibog, cruised to a 4-1 victory over Kapa‘a in the second game Saturday afternoon at Vidinha Stadium.

In Game 2, Aquino shook off a mediocre game one by crushing Warrior starter Kalan Iwoi’s second pitch into the left-field gap for a double.

Aquino advanced to third on a Dreyke Smith-Butac bunt-single and came around to score on a fielder’s choice groundball off the bat of Jensen Koga.

Doubling in his first at-bat paid dividends for Aquino. He said it boosted his confidence heading into later at-bats. In the fourth inning, with the Raiders holding a 2-1 edge, Aquino came up again, this time with two-runners on base and hit another double into the left-center gap.

“I struggled a bit in the first game, and hitting is all about confidence,” Aquiano said. “I wasn’t trying to do too much with it.”

The four runs were more than enough for Kaua‘i starting pitcher Tyler Manibog.

The Kaua‘i sophomore cruised through the Kapa‘a lineup, limiting the Warriors to one unearned run and five hits through the complete-game win. The most impressive aspect of Manibog’s outing was his ability to keep his pitch count low. Manibog pitched the entire game while only throwing 81 pitches.

“He throws a lot of strikes,” Kaua‘i head coach Hank Ibia said. “He handles himself really well on the mound, and his composure is really good.”

The only trouble Manibog got in was in the second inning.

The Warriors received back-to-back one-out singles from Chris Pacleb and D.J. Lacaden. Pacleb scored when a Justin Nagahisa ground ball was misplayed by Kaua‘i shortstop Jensen Voga, giving the Warriors their only run of the game.

Manibog followed the second with two one-two-three innings in a row. The Warriors attempted to come back in the fifth inning when the leadoff batter reached base following another Voga error, and reached second on a sacrifice bunt.

But after giving up a walk to Turtle Kahavlua, Manibog buckled down and got Iwoi and Bronson Aiwhohi to fly-out to end the inning.

Kapa‘a coach Brian Aiwohi said the Warriors were without cleanup hitter Mick Voigt in the second game, leaving a hole in the middle of the Kapa‘a order.

“We had four freshman out on the field by the end of the game,” Aiwohi said. “They did pretty good for us.”

Without a solid presence in the middle of the order, the Warriors struggled to drive in runs.

The Warriors went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.

Kaua‘i didn’t bat much better, going 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position, but the Red Raiders’ ability to put men past second base really increased their chances.

That was led by Aquiano, whose two doubles set the pace for the Raiders.

“He usually hits the ball well for us,” Ibia said. “That’s why I have him hitting first. Because of the things he does for us.”

• Tyson Alger, sports writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or by emailing talger@ thegardenisland.com. Follow him on twitter.com/tysonalger.

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