KAPAA — Facing a two-run deficit going into the last inning, the Red Raiders clawed to get ahead.
Kauai High School’s varsity baseball team defeated Kapaa, 3-2, Wednesday afternoon at the Ron Martin Field in Kapaa.
“I mean, a lot of team effort. Everyone believing in each other at that time,” said Kauai head coach Hank Ibia. “This can carry us far — this win coming back after being down two in the last inning. This is what we needed. Everybody believing in each other made it happen for us.”
Kauai (8-3 KIF, 3-2 2nd round) managed just one hit in the first six innings.
In the seventh, the Red Raiders loaded the bases with the help of a couple of Warriors errors. Kauai then got its first two runs plated off a hit-by-pitch and a walk.
Later on, Red Raiders sophomore infielder Tyler Oshima hit the go-ahead RBI single to left field.
“It felt good. Really good. Just happy we came away with a win,” Oshima said. “(Just tried) to stay calm and have the right mindset going in. Just not to let the pressure get to you.”
Kapaa (5-5 KIF, 2-2 2nd round), too, got the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh.
With the tying run 90 feet away, Warriors senior infielder Leighton Moniz hit into a grounder to the second baseman. The ensuing putout at second base ended the game.
“We were hitting balls right at guys. We were hitting ground balls,” said Kapaa head coach Bryan Aiwohi. “We just told them, ‘Somebody’s got to somehow get on, and get the guy over and score him.’ We did, and it wasn’t enough. I think we should have had more, but stuff happens.”
Aiwohi added about allowing the three runs in the seventh: “I told them, ‘It ain’t over until it’s over. We got to get the three outs.’ Then stuff started going bad, and we couldn’t stop it until it was too late.”
Kapaa broke the scoreless tie in the sixth. Warriors freshman infielder Nainoa Cardinez hit an RBI single to center field to bring in the runner from second.
Cardinez then scored the team’s second run from third as sophomore catcher Kaimi Malina got on base on a fielder’s choice.
Kauai got its three runs on four hits, left five runners on base and recorded one error. Oshima was 1-4 with the RBI single in the seventh.
Red Raiders starting pitcher, junior Christian Manera, got the win in a pitchers duel. He threw all seven innings.
“The two pitchers threw well,” Ibia said. “You got two guys competing with each other and battling every batter. The credit goes to both of them. They worked hard up there.”
Kapaa got two runs on five hits, left eight runners on base and recorded two errors. Junior infielder Ekolu Rivera was 2-4 with one run.
Warriors starting pitcher, junior Chayse Basuel, took the loss. He went 6 2/3 innings before being relieved by Cardinez in the seventh, giving up just one walk.
“I think we could have won. Just the bats weren’t coming through when we needed them,” said Warriors senior outfielder Bryson Poai. “The defense played awesome. Hats off to Chayse Basuel for coming in and shutting it down.”
Wednesday was Kapaa’s senior day. Two Warrior seniors were recognized: Moniz and Poai.
“Playing for this team, we have a brotherhood that can never be broken,” Poai said, who is in his second year of playing varsity. “We just ball out as boys and back each other up on defense.”
Aiwohi said of his two seniors: “They wanted it. They worked hard. They earned their starting positions, and they work hard every day. I wish we could have got it for them, but (the season) ain’t over yet.”
Kapaa will play Waimea (2-6 KIF, 1-2 2nd round) in a doubleheader Saturday at Hanapepe Stadium. The first game will begin 10 a.m.
Kapaa needs to win both games Saturday to stay in contention for the season’s second round.
“That’s the plan now. That’s Plan B,” Aiwohi said. “Defensively, we’re back to basics. We got to learn to stay focused for seven innings and make every play.”
Kauai will next play Waimea at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Vidinha Stadium in Lihue.