Thursday, May 26, 2022 |
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HANAPEPE — Kaiser High School will play at least one more game before heading home to O‘ahu Sunday.
Ross Shimabukuro, the Kaua‘i High School athletic director, said Saturday the Red Raiders will play the Cougars starting at 9 a.m. at Vidinha Stadium.
Arriving Saturday, the Kaiser High School baseball players headed directly to Hanapepe Stadium where the Waimea High School team waited to play a double-header against the visitors.
“They just arrived and are warming up, so the game will start a little late,” said Lois Keamoai, a member of the Waimea coaching staff who was assisting with the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation Wrestling Championships at Waimea High School. “But they are going to play.”
Coming off a successful pre-season baseball invitational tournament, which was re-named the Walter Souza Invitational Baseball Tournament, the Waimea High School team, under head coach Michael Rita, is gearing up for the start of the KIF baseball season, and the pre-season matchup against Kaiser only served to hone the players in preparation for their double-header opener against Kaua‘i High School.
Waimea promptly got down to business, B.J. Freitas taking the first pitch and smacking a three-bagger, scoring on Brock Ephan’s first-pitch homerun for the quick 2-0 bulge in the first frame. But Kaiser, working against Waimea starter Mikey Rita, who ended the day giving up one walk and no strikeouts through six innings of work on the mound, scored its first run in the third when its batter, hit by a pitch, scored with one out on an RBI single to right.
Another Kaiser batter, getting first on an error in the fourth frame, tied the game on an RBI double.
The 2-2 scenario greeted the Menehune entering the sixth inning when Waimea saw both ends of the ball, allowing three Cougar runs on three hits. But Waimea, faced with two outs, bases loaded and a full count on Jube Torigoe, the Cougars’ lead-off hitter, could not close the door.
The Cougar base runner at third got the green light as Mikey unleashed the ball, Torigoe coming around to meet the sphere with the base runner almost home. The bang, Torigoe’s only hit, resulted in two runs scoring. The next hitter scored another run and Waimea looked at a 5-2 deficit entering the sixth home stand.
Waimea came back, scoring nine runs on seven hits, including Ephan’s second homerun, a long shot to rightfield, and capitalizing on two Kaiser errors for the 11-5 final.
Leading the Menehune bats, Ephan finished 3-4, including two homers and scored three times. Freitas ended 3-4 and scored three times. Bryton Lumabao doubled and scored once, Acetyn Emayo marked an RBI on a bunt single and scored once, and Wyatt Taniguchi marked an RBI single and scored once. Waimea won the second game 6-5.
The KIF baseball season opens March 9 with a double-header at Vidinha when Kaua‘i hosts Waimea starting at 10 a.m.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.
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