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Hanamaulu Hillsiders break into win column

  • Photo courtesy J Robertson

    Rookies’ Jerry Nishihira hits a three-run home run in an 18-4 Rookies win over Kuku’s Aces on Saturday in Kaumakani.

ELEELE — The Kauai Senior Softball season sailed through a breezy weekend with a crowded schedule at the league’s two most compact fields. With howling gusty winds a twin bill was set at the Wally Sonoda Tropical Softball Stadium in Kaumakani and a marathon five-game set at the Eleele Plumeria Grounds. Ohana hosted the slate at a packed house in Eleele while Kuku’s Aces manicured the grounds at the Wally Sonoda.

In Eleele, Ohana opened up against cross-town rival West Kauai. Both teams share the all-grass park as their home turf.

Frank Bukoski has Ohana in the league race and put the pressure on early with a strong run-scoring start. Al Mango tried his best to keep West Kauai in the game but could not keep up with the Ohana power falling, 18-3, in a short game.

Dwight Fujii brought the Aloha Kia Lihue A’s out west to meet up with Hana Hou with just one game separating them in the league standings. Lately, the A’s have been all business and are on a three-game win streak. Neal Zaslow has Hana Hou keeping pace in their first year in the league. The A’s had their hands full with a strong challenge from the west side team in a game that went down to the wire. Aloha Kia escaped with an 8-5 win to keep their streak alive.

The third game featured the league-leading Keonimana Gents up against the Hanamaulu Hillsiders. Sia Salausa’s squad has too many weapons at their disposal and had no problem dispatching Peter Rayno’s hard-working team. The Hillsiders scored five runs to put up some fight, but the Gents rolled to score 19 runs in the early innings to close out the game in five with a 19-5 knockout to remain undefeated.

Solid Steel took on the East Kauai Legends in a classic matchup. Norman Holt and the wily Legends went after the new kids, cracking several rallies to put nine runs on the board. Tom Christy kept his new team focused on the game and relied on solid hitting to hammer away for a hard-fought 14-9 win.

Both West Kauai and the Hanamaulu Hillsiders stayed around into the afternoon to square off in a makeup game to close out the day. The two teams put on a run-scoring blast for the packed stadium. West Kauai used their home field knowledge to put up 13 runs on the scoreboard for their most productive game of the season. The Hillsiders had just enough chili pepper water in the tank to answer the call and rallied for their first win of the year and a 14-13 thriller.

Kuku’s Aces were up early grooming the tropical grounds at the Wally Sonoda Field in Kaumakani. The game also featured two teams sharing a home field as the Ace’s took on the Rookies in the opener. Alan Horikawa had to juggle his Rookie lineup for the Kaumakani clash. Kuku DeCosta went after the game with energized Aces. The Rookies made themselves at home, rocking runs from the first inning and tried to put the game out of reach. But Kuku’s Aces held on and rallied in the mid-innings, knocking in four runs to keep the game alive. One last Rookie run scoring drive delivered the difference as the Rookies ran off with an 18-4 win.

Da Kruzers went west early in the morning, umpiring the first game of the day and then taking on the Ohana Motors Rebels in the late end of the doubleheader. Da Kruzers were looking to knock off the Rebels and give Coach Duane Girard a big win. Gary Yates had other plans for the Rebels, who are one game off the league lead. Da Kruzers played a great game with solid defense and took advantage of a couple of mid-inning rallies to post seven runs to stay in the game. But the Rebels jumped out to a lead in the top of the first inning and took off behind four Aaron Garcia home runs, picking up 11 RBIs and leading the Rebels to a 22-7 win.

The Keonimana Gents remain in the league lead with a 10-0 record with the Ohana Motors Rebels a game back at 9-1. The Rookies stand at 8-2 while the Aloha Kia Lihue A’s and Ohana are two games back with 7-2 records. Barteks and Solid Steel are locked at 6-3 with Hana Hou alone in eighth place at 5-4. The East Kauai Legends and Kawaihau have won 2 games on the year. The Islanders, Da Kruzers, Kuku’s Aces, Hanamaulu Hillsiders and West Kauai are knotted with 1 win.

The games switch sides of the island this weekend moving to Wailua Houselots Garden Park and the Bryan J Baptiste Sports Complex Softball Stadium. There will be a tripleheader in Kapaa hosted by the Keonimana Gents and Kawaihau will manage a busy day with five games in the Houselots.

Old friends face off as Kawaihau takes to the diamond in the opener up against the East Kauai Legends at the Garden Park in the Houselots. There will be a lot on the line when Barteks and the Aloha Kia Lihue A’s battle it out in the second contest. Ohana will take on the Rookies in another crucial matchup. The Hanamaulu Hillsiders will try to make it two in a row when they face the Islanders in game four. And in the early afternoon the Islanders will challenge the Lihue A’s in a makeup contest.

The Keonimana Gents start the day in Kapaa with a game with Kuku’s Aces. Hana Hou will have the Ohana Motors Rebels on the other side of the diamond in game two. The triple-header wraps up with Da Kruzers tangling with Solid Steel.

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