WAIMEA — Waimea High School’s varsity softball team won both of Saturday’s games against Kapaa at Waimea Canyon Park.
With the two wins, Waimea (9-2 KIF, 5-0 second round) secured the second round of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season. The Menehune girls will play first round-winner Kauai in a playoff game at a date and location to be determined.
“Kapaa came to play. We were flat, and we were lucky at the end. One hit, and we got lucky,” said Waimea head coach Teddy Perreira. “Not too many teams get lucky like that.”
Menehune senior starting pitcher Deannalynn Tafiti hit a 2-run home run to left-center field in the bottom of the seventh inning to end Saturday’s first game, 9-8. The fly ball tipped the glove of Warriors freshman center fielder Rachel Hines Pleas before falling outside the fence.
“I knew I had two strikes on me. I just had to dig deep,” Tafiti said about the at bat. “That was a great feeling coming around second and watching that.”
Tafiti added the game-winning hit gave her the feeling of redemption. While on the mound, she allowed Kapaa’s first five runs and walked seven batters before being relieved in the fourth inning by senior center fielder Kiani Kamakea.
“It was a good ending. It started out rough, but in the end, that’s what we came here to do — play ball,” she said.
Prior to Tafiti’s walk-off hit, Warriors senior relief pitcher Aliyah Cummings, who started the game at shortstop, knocked a solo shot to center field to give Kapaa (0-10 KIF, 0-4 second round) an 8-7 lead.
“Both teams played tough. First game, we hung in there all the way until the end,” said Kapaa assistant coach Scott Kaui. “The second game, they ended up hitting and we made too many errors. The first game was good though.”
Waimea totaled nine hits and left five runners on base. Kapaa had six hits and left seven runners stranded.
Waimea then won the day’s second game, 10-0. The Menehune girls scored seven runs in the third inning en route to getting the second round-clinching win.
Senior catcher Karlyee Rye Malapit hit a double to center field with the bases loaded to drive in three runs, and freshman second baseman Starlynn Ripley hit a single to left-center to bring home two runs in the inning.
In the top of the fifth inning, Kapaa hit two grounders and a pop fly, all to Waimea junior shortstop Saecha Padasdao-Oyamot, to end the game. Play ended because of the 10-run mercy rule.
“The bats came alive in the second game. It was better than the first game, but we got to get more consistent,” Perreira said. “We’re going to keep working hard. Nothing’s over until it’s over.”
Waimea had 10 hits and left three runners on base. Kapaa had three hits and left four runners stranded.
Five Menehune seniors played their last regular season home games and were recognized after the games — Tafiti, Kamakea, Malapit, Keana Ratcliff-Hogan and Tyrelle Unciano.
“Today was a good day. We started off rough, but it ended great,” Tafiti said, who is about to compete her third season playing varsity for Waimea. “All teams, you’re going to have ups and downs. But this team learned to overcome it.”
Waimea will finish its regular season at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday against Kauai (6-3 KIF, 1-2 second round) at Isenberg Park.
Kapaa will host Kauai for two games on Saturday to wrap up the KIF regular season. The first game will begin at 12 p.m.