LIHUE — In a preview of next week’s playoff game, the Menehune girls got the edge.
Waimea High School’s varsity softball team defeated Kauai, 8-6, Wednesday evening at Isenberg Park in Lihue.
The two teams will play for the Kauai Interscholastic Federation softball title at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Isenberg Park.
“The main thing is that we got the win. It was a good win before getting into the championship game,” said Waimea head coach Teddy Perreira. “The girls know they got to be on their game because Kauai High School is not some pushover team.”
Waimea (10-2 KIF, 6-0 second round) went into the top of the seventh inning leading, 5-4. The team then scored three runs in that half of the inning.
“We definitely had to buckle down in the box and start swinging the bat,” said Menehune senior left fielder Keana Ratcliff-Hogan, who hit an RBI single to right field in the seventh to help Waimea extend its lead.
“We had some field changes, so it was a little bit different. We played a great game. We just got to bring it on Tuesday,” she said.
Waimea had an early 5-0 lead, scoring three runs in the first inning and two in the second.
Menehune senior catcher Karlyee Rye Malapit knocked a single to left-center field to drive in the two runs in the second inning.
Kauai (6-4 KIF, 1-3 second round) then scored four runs in the fourth inning to cut the deficit.
After scoring one run and with runners at first and third bases, Red Raiders senior second baseman Kiani Pagador hit a liner to left field to drive the runners home.
With the Menehune unable to make the throw back in time, Pagador rounded third base and made it to home plate safely to record the inside-the-park home run.
“My adrenaline was going off. I didn’t expect it to be this way, but it was a good kick to get everybody going again,” Pagador said about the home run.
Kauai scored two more runs in the home half of the last inning. Red Raiders junior catcher Tammie Yoshimori hit an triple to left field to drive in one run.
With two outs, however, Red Raiders junior right fielder Shanie Quereto hit a grounder to Menehune junior shortstop Saecha Padasdao-Oyamot, who then made the throw to first to end the game.
“We had a rough start, but they came back. They did what they needed to do,” said Kauai head coach Elena Kealoha. “The girls, sometimes they have hard days. That’s just pretty much what it was. We just started off rough. Once they get their stuff together, they’re OK.”
Waimea got their eight runs off 10 hits and left seven runners on base. Kauai got their six runs off seven hits and left five runners stranded.
Three Red Raiders seniors played their last regular season home game — Pagador, infielder Khaya Bunao and outfielder Tayzia Okami.
“Even though we couldn’t get it to what we wanted it to be, we all came together. We’ll come back Tuesday and fight,” Pagador said. “It’s all about having fun. It’s my last year. As a senior, I just want to make everything memorable.”
Before Tuesday’s title game, Kauai will play at Kapaa (0-10 KIF, 0-4 second round) for two games on Saturday to finish the KIF season. The first game will begin at noon.