Holding back the champs

WAIMEA — Na Menehune wahine churned five runs on five hits in the first two innings Wednesday night to take a 5-4 edge over the Kauai Interscholastic Federation champion Kauai Red Raiders at the Waimea Canyon Park which was festooned with decorations appropriate for Waimea’s senior night.

With the championship title already settled, na Menehune set its focus to other matters — making a statement to “take a strike against cancer” by wearing bright pink socks and reminding people of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life which takes place Saturday at the Hanapepe soccer fields.

Kauai hinted at its capabilities when Aleigha “Red” Scovel singled to open the night with two away, but was left poised at first base.

Capitalizing on Kauai pitcher Kailee Nii early, lead off hitter Kiani-Lee Motooka walked before Malisha Kali-Bagaoisan singled in Waimea’s response. A Kauai throwing error got Alyssa Miyamoto to first and scored Motooka for the ice-breaker before a strong home crowd of appreciative parents and boosters who ringed the outfield and parking lots.

Caysha Goias-Soares rounded out the opening frame fireworks with a two-RBI single which coupled to another Raider miscue in the outfield for the early 3-0 lead.

The Raiders got Nii aboard on a walk with two gone, but again, left a runner stranded when Shanie Quereto hit into a fielder’s choice to close the second inning.

Waimea answered with a two-RBI single by Kali-Bagaoisan to drive home Daleijah Campos-Banasihan, who singled, and Motooka, who also hit a single, for her second crossing to give na Menehune a 5-0 lead which stood until the fifth inning when Kauai came knocking.

Nii singled with one away, and courtesy runner Justice Funamura-Sasil opened the Raider scorebooks when Caley Caires was held at second base on a deep RBI double to centerfield.

The Raiders stoked the fire in the sixth, pushing three runs on just one hit, an RBI single from Nii, and a Waimea error to get Kyra Hirokane aboard, saw two runs — Kahela Nishikawa-Chandler and Funamura-Sasil crossed the plate for the 5-4 deficit which stood when the top of the order came up empty in the seventh frame.

Menehune batting honors were spread out over six hits — all singles — between Motooka who scored twice, a two-RBI by Kali-Bagaoisan, Saecha Ann Padasdao-Oyamot, Miyamoto, Caysha Goias-Soares and Campos-Banasihan.

Nii, suffering the loss on the mound, led the Raider bats with an RBI double and a single followed by Caires’ RBI double to lead the Raiders’ four hits. Scovel singled to round out the hitters.

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