KAPAA — Warriors starting pitcher Noa Cardinez threw a no-hitter as Kapaa High School’s varsity baseball team defeated Waimea High School, 2-0, on Wednesday to clinch the season’s first round.
“I feel pretty good, really good. The defense did what they had to do to get outs,” Cardinez said.
He added: “I just tried to keep my keep my head clear and not think of too much things. Just tried to do what I could to the best of my abilities.”
The Warriors, though, didn’t know Cardinez completed a no-hit game. In the top of the seventh inning, Waimea got two runners on base on errors.
After the game ended, the Kapaa team wasn’t sure if those Menehune runners got on with hits or errors.
“I wasn’t sure how they scored that one. I was going to check with the scorekeeper how he scored it,” said Kapaa head coach Bryan Aiwohi. “It was kind of like, he booted it, so it had to be an E6. But, I’m proud of Noa. Helluva job.”
In seven innings, Cardinez allowed zero runs on zero hits, got seven strikeouts and one walk.
“He just looked composed the whole game. He was hitting his spots, and I don’t know how many strikeouts he had, but he did pretty good. And, the defense did well, too,” Aiwohi said. “Most of the innings, it was just one, two, three. I liked the way he was composed on the mound the whole time. Nothing rattled him. He just stuck with what he had, and it was a good job. The catcher (Ka‘eo Kamau), he was calling the pitches, and he called a good game, too. I’m proud of them. It was an awesome job.”
Cardinez was perfect until that walk in the fourth to Menehune catcher Kanaan Ephan.
“The fourth inning, it was a perfect game. I felt it. I was like, ‘OK, it’s happening.’ Then, I walked that one batter,” Cardinez said. “Then, OK, let’s try to go for the no-no. Luckily, we got it.”
Cardinez also contributed with his bat. Kapaa (4-1-1 KIF) got its first run in the bottom of the first inning when shortstop Ka‘imi Malina scored from third as Cardinez grounded to second base.
In the third inning, Cardinez knocked an RBI double to right-center field. Malina again scored on Cardinez’s hit.
“He helped himself out. MVP of the game. It’s got to be, yeah?” Aiwohi said.
Down two runs in the top of the seventh, Waimea (2-3 KIF) threatened when leadoff hitter Deiton Otoman reached base on an error.
The following batter, outfielder Levi Snowden, hit a grounder toward the pitchers mound and hit into a double play.
Ephan then reached base on another Warriors error. The following at-bat, Menehune shortstop Kaikoa Alquiza popped up in foul territory.
Malina made the catch to secure the win and Cardinez’s no-hitter.
“Noa did his job. Maybe we lost a little bit of edge at the plate, maybe didn’t plan as much as we should have had, but you can’t take away from the performance that he did. Great job to him,” said Waimea head coach Chad Delanoza. “We just need to fix some minor things ourselves first of all. Things will hopefully bounce back from this, but it’s a learning process.”
Kapaa got two runs on seven hits, left seven runners on base and recorded two errors in the seventh inning. Cardinez was 1 for 3 batting with a double and two RBIs. Malina was 2 for 3 with a double and scored two runs.
Cardinez got the win with his no-hitter.
Waimea got zero runs on zero hits, left one runner on base and didn’t record an error.
Menehune starter Tysson Unciano was tagged with the tough-luck loss. In a six-inning effort, Unciano got three strikeouts and two walks.
“Tysson’s been brilliant for us. One thing about him, he’ll give us everything he has regardless of what the score is,” Delanoza said. “That’s unique to have that personality. It tells you a lot about him and his character.”
The Kauai Interscholastic Federation season’s second round begins April 6 when Waimea hosts Kauai High School (1-3-1 KIF) for a doubleheader at Hanapepe Stadium. The first game is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.
Kapaa next plays on April 10 against Kauai at Vidinha Stadium. That game is set for 6 p.m.
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.