HANAPEPE — Kapaa High School’s varsity baseball team won both games of Saturday’s doubleheader against Waimea to kick off the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season.
The Warriors (2-0 KIF) won the season-opening game, 1-0, in extra innings, and won the second game, 12-10.
“We made it hard on ourselves. Waimea fought us all the way to the end in both games,” said Kapaa head coach Bryan Aiwohi.
– Junior center fielder Matt Schmidt came off the bench and delivered the game-winning RBI in the 10th inning for Kapaa.
Freshman outfielder Kalena Harder crossed home plate from second base to record the go-ahead run in the first game.
“It was two strikes, so I had to swing at anything close,” Schmidt said. “The curveball was outside, but I knew I could pull it.”
Both starting pitchers, Kapaa senior Keoki Planas and Waimea senior Patrick Keamoai-Strickland, threw nine scoreless innings prior to Harder’s run in the 10th.
Planas then ended the 10th inning with three consecutive grounders.
“I was just throwing strikes and letting my defense back me up,” Planas said about his 10-inning outing. “Our defense was good today, but we had to hit more.”
Keamoai-Strickland said he, too, felt good on the mound, aside from the one run he allowed.
“I thought I did pretty good. I just let up on that one hit, and they drove in that one run,” the Menehune senior said. “Our defense was pretty solid, but we got to eliminate some mistakes.”
– In the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Kapaa got a 12-4 lead midway through the sixth inning.
The Warriors scored four runs in the first inning, and five in the fourth, en route to getting the early advantage.
“That second game, we went back to how we looked last year,” said Waimea head coach Larry Ephan. “Seven errors killed us.
“We just couldn’t minimize the damage, but the positive thing is that our boys didn’t give up,” he added. “They battled to the end and gave ourselves a shot at the end.”
The Menehune then responded in the bottom of the sixth inning with six runs. Senior center fielder Kalen Games knocked a 3-run triple to right field to cut the deficit, 12-8.
Games then scored his team’s ninth run, crossing home plate off a Warriors’ error.
Kapaa senior shortstop Keola Lutz took the mound and helped stop the bleeding until the final out.
“They came back in the sixth inning because we struggled with pitching,” Aiwohi said. “We started walking guys. We would have an 0-2 count and then walk the guy. That really hurt us.
“Everybody got down a little bit, but they pulled it together and got back up,” the Warriors coach added. “We just went through pitchers until we could find somebody that could get the job done. Mr. Lutz came up at the end.”
Waimea (0-2 KIF) will play Kauai on 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Vidinha Stadium.
Kapaa will host Kauai on Saturday for two games. The first will begin at 10 a.m.