LIHUE — The first three batters in the Kauai High School lineup did most of the damage Wednesday night at the Isenberg Park where Kauai High School shut down Kapaa, 15-0 in a game shortened by the 10-run rule.
“We worked a lot on hitting,” said Kauai coach Elena Kealoha. “During the Waimea tournament, we lost to Kamehameha because we couldn’t hit. The girls definitely did well tonight and our courtesy runners did their job.”
Tia Takasaki led the Red Raider bats, finishing with three hits in four appearances, including two in-the-park home runs. She scored three times and drove in six runs, including three in the third inning when Kauai scored seven of its 15 runs.
“I don’t really think about it a lot,” Takasaki said. “I try to relax in the box, and when the pitch comes, I just whack it.”
Takasaki filled in the second spot in the lineup, following Caley Caires who leads the roster and is already guaranteed a walk-on spot with the University of Hawaii at Hilo softball team. The first three batters on the lineup accounted for nine of the Raiders’ 13 hits through the game.
Caires finished three-for-four in the box, her final appearance getting her aboard on a Kapaa error. She ended the night scoring four times and marked three RBI, including two in the third inning.
“Last year I was hitting right-handed,” said Caires, finishing with four stolen bases. “I transitioned to left-handed hitting this year. I learned a lot about speed while playing soccer.”
Aleigha “Red” Scovel filled in the third spot in the lineup and was put out in her first at-bat following Takasaki’s first 2-run homer. But she came back to mark three singles in four at-bats and scored twice.
Kauai also got hits from Kepa Nishikawa who marked a single in the third inning and finished with four RBI. Kyra Hirokane and Justice Funamura-Sasil each singled.
“This was a rough day,” said Kapaa assistant coach Scott Kaui. “Kauai was hitting well and we made some errors. But I was proud of our girls — they never fell apart.”
Kauai pitcher Kailee Nii was equally tough on the mound, allowing Kapaa just two hits while striking out five.
The hits were limited to Tyra Alao and Aulani Leipua Kaui, the Kapaa pitcher.
“We’re a small and young team,” Scott said. “We lost two seniors last year, but there were a bunch of girls who never came back. Right now, we have three juniors; the rest are sophomores and freshmen. Today, they showed they can fight. We just need to fight harder. We can do it.”
Kauai travels to the Waimea Canyon Park Saturday where they meet Waimea in its season debut in a doubleheader. First pitch goes at 10 a.m.
“Waimea has an army of girls,” Kealoha said. “They have a lot of talent. We just have to keep working. At this point, we can’t take anyone lightly.”