Warriors win first round’s finale

LIHUE  — Kapaa High School’s varsity baseball team defeated Kauai, 9-2, at Vidinha Stadium on Saturday to wrap up the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season’s first round.

“I told the guys we needed to redeem ourselves,” said Kapaa head coach Bryan Aiwohi. “Kauai High is a good team. They’re well-coached and we really needed to come out with our A-game.”

The Warrior boys scored seven runs in the second inning. Senior outfielder Bradley Villanueva hit a double and senior starting pitcher Keola Lutz hit a triple, both to center field, each getting two RBIs.

“The second inning, we got some runs. That inning went our way. We really needed that,” Lutz said. “That really helped us out. It gave me a lot of confidence on the mound, and it gave the team some insurance out there.” 

“We were just hitting the ball and making their defense work. We got some good hits and just made it happen,” he added.

Freshman first baseman Ekolu Rivera got a base hit in the sixth inning for two more RBIs to round out the Warriors’ 9-run outing. Altogether, Kapaa (3-3 KIF) got the nine runs off of 12 hits, and left seven runners on base.

“Pretty much, what we worked on went our way,” Aiwohi said. “Executing is what we really have been mainly focused on — executing the bunts and not missing a signal. We still had some blunders out there.”

“We could have had more base runners. We just got to learn from that and move on,” he added.

Red Raiders sophomore first baseman Aaron Renaud relieved starting pitcher Keala Iwasaki after Kauai allowed the first four runs in the second inning. 

After he gave up the last three runs in the inning, he went on to pitch into the sixth inning without allowing a score. Junior second baseman Micah Layosa relived Renaud in the sixth and finished the game for Kauai.

Kauai head coach Hank Ibia said Renaud hadn’t pitched previously, but was impressed with his showing.

“We didn’t hit when we should have. They could have really opened the door on us,” he said. “He (Renaud) showed me a lot today. We got to expect in the second round, we’re going to see a little bit more. He’s only going to get better. He’s only a sophomore.”

“We threw him today just to see what he had,” Ibia added. “I saw something in Aaron today. So, we should be OK in the second round.”

Kauai (4-2 KIF, won season’s first round) got their two runs off of five hits, and left six runners stranded. Junior infielder Brayden Abreu hit a double to center field to bring in Kauai’s first run. Renaud got a base hit to right field to bring home the team’s second run. 

“They just out-played us, out-hit us and out-pitched us. They did everything right today,” Ibia said. “They bunted the ball well. We didn’t make those plays when they bunted. Just (give) credit to them. We got to defend that.”

Lutz was the day’s winning pitcher, giving up two hits and one run in four innings. Warriors senior shortstop Keoki Planas relieved Lutz and finished the game for Kapaa, giving up three hits and one run in three innings of work.

Iwasaki pitched 1-plus innings and gave up five hits and four runs. Renaud pitched 4 2/3 innings and gave up five hits and three runs. Layosa pitched 1 1/3 innings and gave up two hits and two runs. 

“It all comes down to this. We just got to buckle down, play baseball and do what we got to do to win the second round. Can’t give up now,” Lutz said about preparing for the second half of the season. “Our whole lineup has to hit just like we did today. We’ll be all right.”

The season’s second round begins Saturday. Kapaa will host Waimea (2-4 KIF) for a doubleheader. The first game will begin at 10 a.m.

Kauai will next play Waimea at Hanapepe Stadium on April 8 at 3:30 p.m.

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