Ohana hands defending-champion Gents 1st loss

KAUMAKANI — The Kauai Senior Softball League packed two Westside ballparks under perfect conditions. Kuku’s Aces groomed the Wally Sonoda Softball Park for a triple-header, and Hana Hou got their first crack at hosting games at Hanapepe Softball Stadium.

After prepping the tropical softball park, Kuku’s Aces got the Kaumakani triple-header under way in the early morning game and took on Joe Bertucci’s Islanders. The Islanders continue to play top-flight ball, staying in every game. The Aces were able to rally for five runs. The Islanders used steady hitting to run away with a 17-5 win.

Ohana, as the home team, was waiting to go up against the league-leading Keonimana Gents in the middle game. Tony Rapozo and Frank Bukoski got Ohana to bring one of their best games of the year with the undefeated Gents on the field. Both clubs battled through a full length seven-inning contest and traded leads. Ohana finally rallied to take a lead going into the final inning. The Gents were not able to close the gap with Ohana holding on for a 10-8 win to hand the defending champions their first loss of the season.

The Rookies took advantage of their home field in their game with West Kauai. Alan Horikawa’s Rookies were explosive at the plate and stingy on defense, staying in the running at the top of the league standings. West Kauai stroked a few timely RBI hits to rack up five runs, but it was not enough to keep up with the steady run scoring hitting of the Rookies and went down, 19-5, in a shortened game.

Hana Hou in their first year in the league took its turn in hosting a slate of four games at their home field. They also got the privilege of kicking the day off taking on the league’s other new entry Solid Steel. Solid Steel broke the ice and went to work early on, and Hana Hou would answer. The game went back and forth with each team answering each rally. Hana Hou rallied to capture a tough 15-11 victory.

The Hanamaulu Hillsiders faced the East Kauai Legends in the second game. The two veteran teams put on the best game of the day with all-out defense and run scoring swaps of the leads to the very end. The Hillsiders carved out a lead to try to end the game only to have the Legends respond and recapture a slim lead in the top of the seventh. As the home team, the Hillsiders again tied the game in the bottom of the seventh at 11-11 to force extra innings. The Legends ran up another lead in the top of the eighth and looked to close out the game. Hanamaulu dropped several short fly balls in the short field to rally back and forced the outfield to play shallow. Down by two, the next hitter blasted a three-run home run to the open deep right field, and the Hillsiders came away with an 18-17 thriller.

Barteks had their sights set on the Ohana Motors Rebels in the third game of the day. The teams traded runs in the first inning. Coach Gary Yates got the Rebels to post three consecutive five-run innings to take a 14-run lead. Barteks rallied for four runs in the fifth to keep the game going within the 12-run rule. The Rebels knocked out another five-run inning in the top of the sixth to finally capture a 21-6 win.

The long sunny day wrapped up with another wild run-scoring contest between Da Kruzers and Kawaihau. Duane Girard continues to develop Da Kruzers and they came out swinging and putting up runs. Kawaihau used their wily veteran ways and jumped out in front with place hitting. Da Kruzers got their bats going and rang up eight runs. Norman Holt got Kawaihau to put together a solid attack and pounded out a 21-8 win in six innings.

The Keonimana Gents continue to hold on to first place in the league despite the loss. Their 12-1 record remains the best. The Ohana Motors Rebels are now one game back at 11-2. There is a three-way tie at 9-3 between the Aloha Kia Lihue A’s, Ohana and the Rookies. The two new teams, Hana Hou and Solid Steel, are tied at 8-4. Barteks stands alone at 6-6 followed by Kawaihau, the East Kauai Legends, and Islanders. The Hanamaulu Hillsiders improved their record and are even with Da Kruzers. Kuku’s Aces and West Kauai are right on their heels.

The leagues games will head to Lihue’s neighboring towns and meet up at the Peter Rayno Softball Park in Hanamaulu and at the Softball Park in Puhi. Due to a scheduling conflict with KIF softball, the Senior League agreed to move the regular games to Hanamaulu. The Lihue A’s will continue to host the games at the Rayno Park with a triple-header. The Ohana Motors Rebels will welcome four games to their all-natural turf softball stadium.

The Rebels open the day with an early contest with Solid Steel. The Rookies will be in town to take on the Islanders. The third game pits West Kauai up against the East Kauai Legends. And the afternoon game will feature Barteks facing the Hanamaulu Hillsiders.

Across town at the Peter Rayno Park, the Aloha Kia Lihue A’s will have Kawaihau on their hands. Ohana and Da Kruzers will tangle in the middle game. Hana Hou and Kuku’s Aces will take the field to wrap things up.

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