East Kauai softballers come home state champs

LIHUE — East Kauai senior softball team was the only team from Kauai to earn a state championship, Thursday on Oahu.

“They’re the only ones who got to be champions,” said Ronnie Matsumura, who plays with the Kauai senior softball champion Lihue A’s. “Nobody else did as well. I think the next best was third place.”

East Kauai Gents, under the coaching of player/coach Sia Salausa, finished undefeated in the C bracket of the state senior softball championships on Oahu.

“We played four games since Tuesday,” said Frank Bukoski, a player for East Kauai. “We had one on Maui, two games Wednesday, and the championship game Thursday.”

East Kauai got off to a strong start Tuesday, taking a 12-8 win over the Guavas, a team from Maui.

They followed that with a 17-11 win over Team Sports, a team from the Big Island, and a 17-15 squeaker over Hui O Hana Makule, a team from Oahu.

The win over Hui O Hana Makule put them in the championship match against Ka Newa, a team from Maui. East Kauai, with Bukoski on the mound, edged out the Valley Isle team, 18-16, for the C bracket title.

“The most memorable game was against Makule,” Bukoski said. “We were chasing a run in the late part of the game, and we were able to force extra innings when we scored.”

Bukoski said under the rules, the teams start with a runner on second base. Makule scored, but we came back to score three runs and win by two runs.

Salausa was impressive on the field, Bukoski said.

“In the first game, he hit a homerun his first time up,” Bukoski said. “They walked them twice after that. The same thing happened against Team Sport when Salausa homered his first time up and they walked him for the rest of the game.”

Bukoski said in the championship game, Salausa was walked his first time up. His next at-bat, he was the lead off hitter and got aboard, but they walked him twice after that.

“The main thing is that everyone had fun,” Matsumura, who came home behind his Lihue A’s, said. “That’s what the program is about — having fun.”

East Kauai Gents include Coach “Sarge” Salusa, Mike Curtis, Rick Ramones, Bruce Laymon, Patrick “Skip” Cacayan, Russell “Rusty” Bielak, Tom “Big Bird” Ganong, Rudy Villon, Joshua Huddy, Gordon Doo, Sonny Cacayan, Sherwood Iida, Eric “Rabbit” Sakazaki, Jerome Hew, Gary “Gelati” Duerst, Abe Huddy, Grant Yata, Paul Hurley, Alex Youn, Norman Holt Sr. and Bukoski.

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.


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