KAPAA — Kapaa High School’s varsity softball team won the first round of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season.
Kapaa (6-0 KIF) won both games of Saturday’s doubleheader against Waimea High School at home.
The Warriors won the first game, 9-4, and then won the second game, 8-3.
“For us, everything we do, it’s been a process,” said Kapaa head coach Francis Takasaki. “We focus specifically on the process, how we go about things. We’re not really worried about the outcome. We have a very young team. Experience-wise, we’re still adapting to this team this year. It’s very much a contrast compared to what we had in the last two seasons. Again, it’s an ongoing process. It’s work under construction. We’re constantly putting attention to what we need to do on a daily basis.”
Game 1: Warriors clinch first round
Kapaa needed to win just one of Saturday’s games to clinch the first round. The Warriors did just that in Saturday’s opening game against the Menehune.
Kapaa plated four runs on four hits in the bottom of the third inning to take a 5-1 lead. Warriors outfielder Kendra Kupihea and infielder Kaylana Maghanoy each hit RBI singles in the inning. Two more were scored on a Menehune error.
Kapaa scored four more runs in the fifth inning. Warriors catcher Savannah Simmons hit a two-RBI single to center field, and outfielder Seijia Makanani hit an RBI single to center in the inning.
“Our bats, we’re still making adjustments,” Takasaki said. “That inning, we were producing. We had a lot better pitch selection. You know, the two other high schools have very contrasting styles of pitching. For us, it’s an adjustment every week seeing the other high school. So, it’s a constant adjustment for us.”
Waimea (2-4 KIF) scored its first run in the third inning when Menehune infielder Kailea Huihui-Caberto crossed home plate on a Warriors error.
Facing a 9-1 deficit in the top of the seventh inning, Waimea scored three more runs but couldn’t close the gap. Menehune infielder Jenessa Freitas hit an RBI double to left field, and outfielder Maegan Soares hit a two-RBI single to center field.
“We couldn’t generate runs in the first inning. We had runners on base in the two games, and we couldn’t bring the guys home,” said Waimea head coach Teddy Perreira. “Like I said, selection pitches got to be on the money. It’s not like the girl was going to blow them by us. We’ll keep on working. There’s a lot of season yet.”
Kapaa got nine runs on 10 hits, left seven runners on base and recorded four errors. Kupihea was 2 for 3 batting including a bunt single. Warriors outfielder Tiani Kaui was 2 for 4 with a triple and a single and scored two runs.
Warriors starting pitcher Shanayah Marshall got the win. Marshall pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowed three runs on three hits and got eight strikeouts and one walk.
Waimea got four runs on five hits, left six runners on base and recorded four errors. Huihui-Caberto was 2 for 3 with a double and a single and scored two runs. Freitas was 2 for 4 with an RBI double and scored one run.
Menehune starting pitcher Shandalyn Kuhlmann took the loss. Kuhlmann threw 4 1/3 innings, allowed nine runs on 10 hits and got one strikeout, four walks and one hit-by-pitch.
Game 2: Warriors finish round unbeaten
Kapaa then won Saturday’s second game to finish the season’s first round with a 6-0 record.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Kapaa scored seven runs on seven hits to take an 8-0 lead. Simmons and designated player Shaylin Rivera each had two-RBI knocks in the inning. Infielders Shailee Teles-Kelekoma and Kaia Davis-Caberto each hit RBI singles.
Down by eight runs, Waimea chipped away at Kapaa’s lead. The Menehune got a run in the top of the fifth when infielder Makeyah Wisneski crossed home plate on a wild pitch.
Waimea got two more runs in the top of the sixth. Soares crossed home plate as outfielder Kiana Kaiwi grounded to the second baseman. Outfielder Leiko Yamauchi drove in a run with a single to second base.
In the top of the seventh inning, with runners on first and second base and two outs, Kaiwi popped up to shortstop for the final out.
“The bats came up flat again today,” Perreira said. “I don’t know what’s going on, but Kapaa played good. They hit the ball. We got to come up with the bats more.”
Kapaa got eight runs on nine hits, left six runners on base and recorded one error. Rivera was 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs and scored a run. Davis-Caberto was 2 for 3 with an RBI single and a run.
Marshall started the second game and again got the win. In 5 1/3 innings, Marshall gave up three runs on four hits and had three strikeouts and three walks.
“She’s been working really hard this season, and we’re really happy for her,” Takasaki said of Marshall. “It’s been a process. We’ve had her the past three seasons. As a senior, she’s finally broken through that barrier and she’s developed that command over what she’s doing.”
Makanani pitched in relief and got the save. She went 1 2/3 innings, allowed zero runs on four hits and got one walk.
Waimea got three runs on eight hits, left eight runners on base and recorded two errors. Soares was 2 for 4 and scored one run. Huihui-Caberto as 2 for 4 and scored a run. Wisneski was 2 for 3 and scored a run.
Menehune starting pitcher Nikayla Oyamot-Taniguchi took the loss. She went all six innings for Waimea and got one strikeout, one walk and three hit-by-pitches.
The KIF second round starts April 3 when Waimea hosts Kauai High School (1-5 KIF) at 6 p.m. at Waimea Canyon Park.
Kapaa next plays April 6 against Kauai for a doubleheader at Isenberg Park. The first game is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.