Kauai guys take on world competition
A handful of local senior softball teams competed at the 2018 Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah earlier this month.
This year, 349 teams played in the softball competition.
Hanipa’a 60s won gold in the Men’s 60s C+ Red division.
“It was awesome. (Being from) a small island in the middle of the Pacific and competing with players from 35 countries, there were like 5,500-some softball players there,” said Hanipa’a 60s first baseman Sia Salausa. “This was our second year. We won gold last year, and this year we won gold again. It’s all about camaraderie, (meeting people) from all around the world and playing the game we love to play.
Hanipa’a 60s defeated Edmonton Vintage of Canada in the final game, 19-16.
“It was a good game. We jumped ahead, 1-0, in the first inning. And then we jumped ahead, 3-0, by the third inning. But they came back and went ahead, 5-3. It was a seesaw after that — back and forth until the seventh inning,” Salausa said. “The were ahead, 16-14. We came back. It was the bottom of the sixth. We came back and scored five runs. You can only score five runs per inning. Bottom of the sixth inning, we went ahead, 19-16. Then, we shut them down in the top of the seventh inning. Game over.”
Hanipa’a 65s placed fourth in the Men’s 65+ AA Black division.
The Islanders — comprised of players from Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Big Island and a few mainlanders — won silver in the 55 AAA division.
“It was very intimidating. Normally, we register for AA. This year, we had some better players and we played well in the pool games. They bumped us up to AAA,” said Islanders coach Jeffrey Kimoto. “We were playing against guys from Canada and the mainland. Some of them, they’re big — 6’4, 6’5, 280 pounds. They’re huge compared to us guys from the island, but we hung with them.”
The Islanders lost to Big Al’s of Salt Lake City, Utah, 21-14.
“The team we played against, I played against them the last three years. They always had our number. I knew we didn’t have a chance of beating them,” Kimoto said. “But just to get a silver medal and to represent Kauai, that was a big thing for us. It motivated us a little. Do it like Honolulu Little League. We got to be like those guys.”
Kauai 70s won silver in the Men’s 70+ Red division. The team was undefeated in pool play but later lost to Suburban Auto Group, 19-11.
Hekili won silver in the Men’s 70+ C Black division. Hekili lost to California Oaks, 12-0.
Playing in the Men’s 74+ B division, Ka Uila won silver. Ka Uila fell short to the Silver City Brewers, 23-22.
In the 50s Major AAA division, Kauai players Bully Balocan and Aaron Efhan played for Woodlawn Hitting Club of Florida. The team placed fourth in the division.
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.