Kaua‘i PONY Baseball opens season in Koloa

KOLOA — Sam Nakata of the Lihu‘e Protect Our Nation’s Youth (PONY) baseball league lost little time adding to opening day excitement Sunday at Anne Knudsen Park in Koloa.

Nakata, the second hitter in the Lihu‘e lineup, jumped on a Hanapepe pitch and connected for a two-run in-the-park home run to deep right-centerfield.

Dondi Viquelia, the Kaua‘i PONY baseball commissioner, said the Kaua‘i PONY league opened its 2012 season with six teams Sunday.

In addition to the Lihu‘e and Hanapepe teams featured in the season-opening game, which ended on a 10-run ruling with Lihu‘e in control, there are teams from Hanama‘ulu, Koloa, Kapa‘a and Kekaha.

The season will feature games on Thursday and Sunday at different sites around the island through May 31.

Games on Thursday will start at 4:15 p.m., and Sunday matches will start at 10 a.m.

Following the regular season, a double elimination, or pool play, tournament will enable teams to play 12 games from June 3 through June 14 at sites to be announced later.

The winner of the tournament will play the regular season champion for the Kaua‘i PONY Championship.

Viquelia said the state PONY tournament will be hosted in Hilo on the Big Island this year from July 6 through July 10. He said Kaua‘i will send an all-star team to participate in the tournament.

The next series of games will play Thursday when Lihu‘e meets Kapa‘a at the Kapa‘a field and Koloa travels to Kekaha, both games starting at 4:15 p.m.

Sunday’s games move to the Kapa‘a field for three games starting at 10 a.m. when Koloa takes on Hanama‘ulu, followed by Kekaha taking on Lihu‘e starting at 12:30 p.m.

Hanapepe will play host Kapa‘a in the final game starting at 3 p.m.

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