WAIMEA — Home runs and double plays fueled the Waimea High School softball team’s 6-4 win over Kauai Wednesday evening at a packed Waimea Canyon Park.
The win redeems the Menehune’s last meeting when the Red Raiders swept the doubleheader at home to give Waimea its two-loss record.
Kauai High School, undefeated until its Wednesday meeting, could have locked up the first round with a win.
Instead, Kauai now faces a crucial doubleheader Saturday against Kapaa High School at Isenberg Park. The first game starts at 10 a.m.
The Red Raiders must win both of its games against the Warriors to lock up the first round. A split will force a playoff against Waimea for the first round. Two losses will give the Menehune the first round.
“Kapaa is no pushover team,” said Waimea coach Teddy Perreira. “Kauai will have to work hard.”
Waimea picked up its win on eight hits, including three homers — a three-run shot from Karlyee Rye Malapit in the first inning, and solo shots by Alyssa Minamoto in the third and fifth frames.
Winning pitcher Kiani “Ani” Kamakea went the distance, allowing four runs on six hits while striking out two and walking two.
Defensively, the Menehune also executed two inning-ending double plays, one in the second inning and the other coming in the fourth frame.
“Ani’s throwing good,” Perreira said. “She also had some good liners in the batting box. We just kept the girls working. They just need to be ready.”
With one out in the first, Shania Rita singled to get aboard. Kailee Nii walked Saecha Padasdao-Oyamot with two away before Malapit smacked a two-strike ball into deep left center for the 3-0 lead.
Miyamoto came up in the third inning and laced another left-center shot on a full count pitch with one away in the third inning for the 4-0 edge.
The Raiders, held to just one hit through three innings, came alive in the fourth inning when Nii singled followed by catcher Tammie Yoshimori who hit a two-run shot that trimmed the deficit to 4-2.
Miyamoto answered the challenge in the fifth with another solo home run, this time giving the ball a ride over the right-center field fence.
Padasdao-Oyamot singled and pushed Waimea to a 6-2 lead on a single by Tyrelle Unciano.
Kauai answered with another productive inning in the sixth, cranking out two runs on two hits and a Waimea miscue.
With one away, Nii conked her second single and courtesy runner Layosa crossed on a Tia Takasaki single, which had an error tagged to it.
Kaylee Braun, courtesy running for Yoshimori who walked, came home on a sacrifice fly by Kyra Hirokane for the 6-4 final.
Nii suffered the loss with six runs allowed on eight hits while walking four, hitting a batter and striking out two.
“This was a tough game for us,” said Elena Kealoha, Kauai coach. “Waimea did well tonight. They had a good game.”
“It’s been tough,” Kealoha added. “But we’ll get through it. The girls need to believe in themselves as much as we believe in them. We can do this.”
Waimea gets a bye this weekend, and barring any playoffs, will take the field Wednesday, April 15 against the Warrior girls at the Kapaa High School softball facility.
“We just need to execute,” Perreira said. “We need to keep playing Waimea ball.”