KAPAA — Warriors junior infielder Leighton Moniz kicked off his 17th birthday with a win at home.
Kapaa and Kauai High School’s varsity baseball teams each got a win in Saturday’s doubleheader at Kapaa to start the season’s second round.
“That was exciting. That was a really good way to start my day,” Moniz said of the home win. “It was really fun. Really hot, though. But overall, the team played really good today.”
Kapaa (3-5 KIF, 1-1 2nd round) won the opening game, 2-0.
Moniz and senior infielder Jake Rausch scored Kapaa’s runs off Red Raiders errors. Both crossed home plate from second base.
“Hey, it was a good day for baseball. Boys came out and worked hard all week long,” said Warriors assistant coach Justin Malina. “Getting that W, it was all on them. They deserved it. They made the plays we needed them to make. Defense and pitching was awesome.”
Kauai High had two runners on in the seventh inning. But with two outs, Red Raiders senior outfielder Gunner Vallatini flied out to center field for the game’s final out.
Kapaa got its two runs — both unearned — off one hit, left three runners on base and committed one error. Junior starting pitcher Maka Vidinha-Rivera was the game’s winning pitcher, going the distance for the Warriors.
Kauai High totaled two hits, left three runners on and committed three errors — all in the fifth inning. Red Raiders starter, senior Brayden Abreu, was the losing pitcher and threw six innings.
Malina called the shots for Kapaa, filling in for head coach Bryan Aiwohi — who is in Hilo attending the Merrie Monarch Festival.
“It was fun. Coach Bryan said, ‘Hey, you got the job out there. Go do it. Don’t worry about it,’” Malina said. “All thanks to him for giving me the opportunity and having trust. No matter what it was, it’s just a team — the function of the team. Nothing changed. Just a different person at third base. That’s all.”
Kauai High (7-1 KIF, 1-1 2nd round) then went on to win the second of Saturday’s contests, 5-3.
“It’s OK. At least we got one. I’d prefer going 2-2, but sometimes that’s the way baseball works,” said Red Raiders head coach Hank Ibia.
The Red Raiders got an early 3-run cushion. Junior infielder Sam Nakata got the game’s first run — advancing to third base from second off a wild pitch, and then going home off an error.
In the third inning, senior infielder Kobey Dias knocked a double to left-center field for two RBIs. Sophomore courtesy runner Ethan Gray and freshman designated hitter Tyler Oshima scored off Dias’ hit.
Kauai High then got two insurance runs in the seventh. Senior infielder Douglass Miyasato hit a double to right-center field for one RBI, senior outfielder Keala Iwasaki scoring the run. In the following at bat, junior outfielder Keanu Camaliri hit a single to center field to bring home Miyasato.
In the bottom of the seventh, Kapaa had a two-out rally going. Warriors starting pitcher, sophomore Chayse Basuel, hit a single to right field for two RBIs — sophomore outfielder Kalena Harder and sophomore infielder Kade Kupihea scoring the runs. Freshman infielder Kaimi Malina later scored off a wild pitch.
Vidinha-Rivera then hit into a ground out to end the rally.
“Definitely got to keep our composure and learn how to finish strong,” said Red Raiders senior starting pitcher Micah Layosa, who was on the mound during that rally in the seventh. “I just had to stay calm and keep myself relaxed. I knew my defense had my back.”
Kauai High got its five runs off seven hits and left two runners on base. Layosa went the distance and stuck out three to become the winning pitcher.
Kapaa got its three runs off five hits, left seven runners on and committed one error. Basuel was the losing pitcher, also going all seven innings and striking out three.
Kauai High will host Waimea (1-5 KIF) at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Vidinha Stadium. Waimea will host Kapaa for a doubleheader Saturday at Hanapepe Stadium. The first game will begin at 10 a.m.