KAPAA — The Kauai Senior Softball League wrapped up the first round of play with some thrilling action at two parks. The Keonimana Gents hosted a four-game set at the Bryan J. Baptiste Sports Complex, and Kawaihau readied the softball garden in the Wailua Houselots for four games.
The day at the Baptiste Softball diamond started with a battle between the Keonimana Gents and the Rookies. Both clubs feature overwhelming hitting and superior defenses, making for a classic encounter. Sia Salausa’s team went up against a fired up Rookie squad that saw the game exchange the lead four times.
Alan Horikawa had the Rookies withhold the early Gents scoring attack and answered with a five-run third inning to take a 5-4 lead. The Gents drew closer, adding three runs in the home half of the fifth.
The Gents were aggressive on the bases, trying to increase their lead. In two early innings, they had a runner gunned down at home plate from deep in the outfield by Rookies outfielder Nelson Chiba. The Rookies kept chipping away to extend their lead, scoring four in the fourth and two more in the top of the fifth to take a 11-7 advantage. Keonimana then hammered out five runs in the fifth to recapture a 12-11 lead.
The Gents added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth to take a two-run lead. The Rookies went to work in the top of the seventh, scoring the leadoff run to cut the deficit in half. The Gents turned a double play to empty the bases and close in on the victory. The Westsiders came through with back-to-back hits to put the potential game-tying run at second when the well went dry. Keonimana got the game-ending out and escaped with a 13-12 win to end their round of play. The win places the Gents in the league lead on their 13-1 record.
The second game featured the Aloha Kia Lihue A’s taking on Solid Steel. Tom Christy wanted to stop the recent skid going up against one of the league’s leading teams. Dwight Fujii was looking to keep the A’s near the top of the standings.
The teams came out swinging, posting first-inning runs with the A’s holding on to a 4-3 lead. Lihue turned up the defense and shut down Solid Steel over the second, third, and fourth innings, surrendering just one run while running away with a 9-4 advantage through four innings. In the late innings, the A’s bats went cold while the Steel peppered away with five in the fifth and ran away posting six runs in the top of the seventh inning.
Aloha Kia took a shot at a rally in the home half but got taken down with great defensive plays as Solid Steel captured a 16-10 victory.
In the third contest, Ohana and the East Kauai Legends faced off. Norman Holt and Paul Guzman got another great performance from the Legends in their skirmish with Frank Bukoski’s bunch. Ohana has found a way to keep their win streak alive. Saturday would be no different.
Ohana was able to light up the scoreboard with well-placed hitting and timely power. The Legends have been able to string together run producing hits, and the game stayed closed. Ohana got to 13 on the scoreboard and it turned out to be a lucky number as they finished the first round edging the Legends, 13-12. Ohana was the only one of the three-loss teams to post a win over the weekend and stands alone at third in the league.
The frenzy wrapped up with Neil Zaslow and upstart Hana Hou trying to improve on their 9-4 record in the first half of their first season. Pete Rayno and the veteran Hanamaulu Hillsiders were waiting in the opposite dugout. The Hillsiders have had no trouble putting together hits and racking up runs. Kapaa suits their hitting well as Hanamaulu knocked in nine runs. The field was equally generous to Hana Hou as they rolled through their lineup. Hana Hou was able to increase their record as they ran wild to a 21-9 knockout.
Kawaihau was looking at a doubleheader to start the four-game day in Wailua. First up would be Barteks.
Henry Hee knew Kawaihau would have their hands full with the up tempo hitting game of Barteks. Pat Baniaga and Barteks were looking to end the round on a good note and hold their ground in the standings. Barteks was able to get out to a lead and keep their opponents away. Kawaihau made a good run, tacking up six runs but fell away. Barteks pounded their way to an 11-6 win.
Kawaihau stayed on the field for their own doubleheader and challenged the Islanders completing the home team’s schedule. Joe Bertucci has the Islanders deep in every game and they showed their hitting skills, scattering run-scoring hits en route to scoring 14 runs. Henry Hee and his crew were not going to be denied on their home turf and rallied for 15 runs of their own to slip past the Islanders, 15-14.
Duane Girard and Da Kruzers took the field against Kuku’s Aces in the third game. Da Kruzers brought one of their best games of the season and took charge in the hitting department. Kuku always gets a rally from the Aces, knocking in five runs. Da Kruzers were able to add to their lead and rocked their way to a 16-5 victory.
A long day of softball ended with the Islanders in their own doubleheader of the day going up against West Kauai. The Islanders were more than ready to play after the short post-Kawaihau break and got down to business with ease. West Kauai did not have that advantage and had waited through the morning for the field. Al Magno has no problem getting West Kauai going and they drove in four runs. The Islanders were primed to hit-and-run and blasted 18 runs on the scoreboard to split their day on a 18-4 win.
With the 15 teams in the league completing their 14-game first round schedule, the Keonimana Gents stand alone in first place with a 13-1 record. The Ohana Motors Rebels remain close in second after posting a 12-2 record. Ohana is the lone survivor at three losses and now in third outright at 11-3. The Aloha Kia Lihue A’s, first-year Hana Hou and the Rookies are in fourth with records of 10-4. The other first-year squad, Solid Steel, is off to a good start at 9-5 with Barteks on their heels at 8-6. The East Kauai Legends, Islanders and Kawaihau are knotted at 5-9. Da Kruzers picked up their third win of the season, followed by the Hanamaulu Hillsiders, Kuku’s Aces and West Kauai.
Softball action continues at the same venues as the East Kauai Legends host the games at the Bryan J. Baptiste Sports Complex and Kawaihau trims the park in Wailua Houselots for a four-game slate.
At the softball stadium in Kapaa, the Legends will take on the Rookies in the early-morning match. The Islanders will be in town to take on the Keonimana Gents. The third game will pit the Hanamaulu Hillsiders with the Aloha Kia Lihue A’s.
In Wailua, Kawaihau will get the second round underway with the Ohana Motors Rebels. Two West Side teams will be in East Side action when West Kauai is teamed with Kuku’s Aces in the second game. Kuku’s Aces will go up against Barteks in the late-morning contest. The final game will draw the parks attention as Hana Hou meets up with Ohana.