HANAPEPE — The Menehune boys won their first league title since 2012.
Waimea High School’s varsity baseball team defeated Kapaa High School, 5-3, in a playoff game Tuesday afternoon to clinch the Kauai Interscholastic Federation championship.
With the win, the Menehune also clinched its spot in the 2019 Wally Yonamine Foundation Baseball Championship-Division II state tournament, which will be on Kauai beginning May 9.
Waimea (8-4 KIF, 5-1 2nd round, 1-0 playoff) took a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, Menehune outfielder Cory Goias-Soares knocked a three-RBI double.
As Warriors left fielder Aaron Vicente came in on the play, the ball took a huge hop and bounced over Vicente’s head and rolled deeper into the outfield, allowing the Menehune to clear the bases.
Kapaa (5-7-1 KIF, 1-5 2nd round, 0-1 playoff) then went down in order in the top of the seventh inning to end the contest. Warriors center fielder Levi Cummings flied to center field for the final out.
After Menehune center fielder Noa Aquino made the catch for the final out, he and his teammates celebrated in the outfield.
In the bottom of the second inning, facing a 1-0 deficit, Waimea scored two runs to take a 2-1 lead. Menehune first baseman Lacin Montemayor scored from third base on a wild pitch — after reaching first base on a wild pitch — and Goias-Soares hit an RBI single to left field.
Kapaa had an early 1-0 lead when Warriors designated hitter Kelsi Kimura-Masada hit an RBI single to center field.
The Warriors evened the scored at 2-2 in the top of the fourth inning on an RBI sacrifice fly by first baseman Isaac Nagahisa. Kapaa took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth inning when right fielder Caden Shimabukuro scored from third base and Nagahisa grounded to shortstop.
Waimea got five runs on five hits, left four runners on base and recorded two errors. Goias-Soares was 2 for 3 batting with a double and drove in four RBIs. Left fielder Levi Snowden was 2 for 2, once reached first base on an intentional walk, and scored two runs.
Menehune starting pitcher Tysson Unciano got the win. In a complete-game effort, Unciano got four strikeouts, one walk and one hit-by-pitch. In the top of the fourth inning, with two outs and the bases loaded for Kapaa, Unciano struck out Warriors catcher Ka‘eo Kamau to end the inning tied at 2-2.
Kapaa got three runs on nine hits, left eight runners on base and recorded one error. Shimabukuro was 2 for 3 hitting and scored one run. Kamau was 2 for 4.
Ka‘imi Malina took the loss for Kapaa. Malina threw six innings and got six strikeouts and three walks.
Malina took the mound in the bottom of the first inning. Kamau was scheduled to be Kapaa’s starting pitcher, but the change was made after Kamau appeared to have suffered an injury while batting in the top of the first inning.
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.