Gents squeak by Solid Steel, remain unbeaten

KAPAA — The Keonimana Gents, four-time defending Kauai Senior Softball League champions, remained unbeaten, barely, downing Solid Steel, a first-year team, 14-13, Saturday at Bryan J. Baptiste Sports Complex in Kapaa.

Tagipio “Sia” Salausa’s Gents held on over Tom Christy’s Solid Steel in the fourth game of a rare, five-game slate at the Eastside field.

Frank Bukoski’s Ohana and Gary Yates’ Rebels gained victories at the Eleele Park diamond.

The East Kauai Legends came through with a remarkable accomplishment keeping the Eastside softball stadium in prime condition for five games.

Age has been insignificant in the league, with more than 150 runs scored in Saturday’s six games.

Four of the five games at Kapaa were knock-out affairs decided by the 12-run rule that ends a contest when one of the teams is ahead by 12 or more runs after five innings. The lone game short of the 12-run rule was the one-run, down-to-the-wire nail-biter between Solid Steel and the Gents.

Once getting the park ready for play, the Legends drew the Aloha Kia Lihue A’s in the sunrise opener on the Eastside. Dwight Fujii’s A’s are working hard to keep in the running in the league standings and are finding ways to put runs on the board. The A’s were in full swing and ran up 15 runs and the Legends ended up on the short end of a 15-3, 12-run decision.

Barteks continues to dominate their games and took command of Da Kruzers with early inning fireworks. Da Kruzers stayed in the fight, banging out six runs, but Pat Baniaga’s Barteks put the pressure on to go up by five runs and take an 18-6 win in another shortened game.

The Rookies crossed the island to take on Kawaihau in the late-morning game. Alan Horikawa had the Rookies in non-stop mode, ringing up five-run innings to blow out the scoreboard with 25 runs. The Rookies overwhelmed Kawaihau 25-8, to stay two games back in the league race.

Hana Hou and Da Kruzers closed the day with a fifth game. This match was to make-up a rainout from the storm two weeks ago. Neil Zaslow gave up Hana Hou’s only day off in the 14-week first half of play to get the schedule back on track. Hana Hou showed up with their bats ready for action and once again took advantage of the long ball. Da Kruzers were playing in their second game of the day and after a two and a half hour break. The delay crimped Da Kruzers’ offensive clout and they were able to muster three runs. Hana Hou was in full force, knocking in 21 runs to hammer out a 21-3 pasting.

The Aloha Kia Lihue A’s, Barteks, Rookies and Hana Hou won their games with a 12-run or more advantage, enjoying a big day in the batter’s box.

At Eleele, Ohana downed Francis “Kuku” DeCosta’s Kuku’s Aces 16-4 in five innings, and the Rebels handled Joe Bertucci’s Islanders, 17-9, with Aaron Garcia crushing two home runs over the right-field fence, the first hitting Kaumualii Highway on the fly.

The Gents remain out in front of the league with an 8 and 0 record. The Rebels are a game back with a single loss and there are four teams knotted up with 2 losses – the Rookies, Ohana, Lihue A’s and Hana Hou.

The games come to town this Saturday with contests scheduled for Isenberg Stadium and Puhi Park. The Aloha Kia Lihue A’s are the designated host for the games at Isenberg as they take on Da Kruzers in the sunrise competition. Pete Rayno and the Hanamaulu Hillsiders will have their hands full with the Rookies in the second game. Hana Hou and Barteks will take the road trip to Lihue to square off, and Kawaihau will go up against the Gents as the final game of the day.

Solid Steel has designated Puhi Park as their home park for their first season and will face the Islanders in their first true home opener. Kuku’s Aces will take to the all-grass field in a match up with West Kauai. The final game will have the Legends and the Ohana Motors Rebels squaring off. The games begin are 9, 10:15. 11:30 a.m. at both fields, with the nightcap at 12:45 p.m. at Isenberg.

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J Robertson is Kauai Senior Softball League board vice president.

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