Rookies beat Gents in season finale

  • Jerry Nishihara lifts one of four Rookie home runs to power a 12 to 8 win over the Keonimana Gents.

  • Photos courtesy J Robertson

    Keonimana Gents, 2019 Kauai Senior Softball League champion.

HANAPEPE —The Kauai Senior Softball League finished the 2019 season with one of the wildest weekends on record. Hanapepe Stadium was packed with team tents, tailgate barbecues and hundreds of fans filling the bleachers at two softball parks.

Under sunny skies and a brisk wind blowing out to left field, Barteks set up their home town softball stadium for a four-game set while the Hanamaulu Hillsiders hosted another four-game slate on the converted youth baseball field with the wind blowing in.

The stadium diamond got underway with Barteks taking on Kawaihau in a nine inning slugfest. Visiting Kawaihau jumped out to a lead scoring early on extra base hits taking a 6 to 2 lead. Barteks climbed back into the game posting 3 runs in the 3rd and 5 in the 4th to go ahead 10-6.

Kawaihau continued to drop hits recapturing the lead. Barteks tied the game and Kawaihau goes ahead. Barteks used a bottom of the 7th 2-run rally to tie the game in regulation at 12, forcing overtime. The game remained tied after 8 and 2 more runs for each side.

Kawaihau struck again in the 9th with 16 for the game. The home team last bat advantage belonged to Barteks as they put together a final rally to trim Kawaihau 17-16 in 9 innings. Barteks finishes the season on a hot streak climbing up the standings to tie for fourth place.

The East Kauai Legends ended their season going up against an energized Ohana crew. Frank Bukoski has turned Ohana into a scoring machine headed into the scramble for the final standings. The Legends are on the rise each week. The Legends found a few early scoring opportunities and pasted 6 runs on the scoreboard.

Ohana used a mix of deep drives and place hits to answering the scoring and take control of the game. Several rallies later and coming up with 4 runs in the top of the 7th Ohana ended their season with a 21 to 6 win. The victory gives Ohana the other half of the tie for fourth place.

Based on the run differential between the two clubs in head-to-head competition the advantage belongs to Barteks giving them the higher finish position for state seeding.

The largest crowd gathered at the second round showdown between the leagues two top teams. The Keonimana Gents and the Rookies have run the table over the second round of play and entered the contest undefeated. The Gents had one loss on their record while the Rookies went down 4 times in the first round.

Ever since the Gents edged the Rookies 13 to 12 to end the first round Alan Horikawa has put the Rookies on a hot streak taking out everyone in front of them. Likewise, the Gents have rolled through the competition as they have done for years.

The Rookies took advantage of the gusty winds and jumped out to a lead in the top of the first. The Gents responded and the contest was on. Both teams continued to show flashy defense holding off the hitters.

The Rookies have a productive lineup from top to bottom and were able to launch 4 big home runs from the heart of their batting order to keep their distance and the lead. The Gents came up big in the mid-innings to knock in 8 runs and make the game close. The difference in the final score was the long ball as the Rookies end the second round without a loss handing the Gents just their second defeat of the season winning by 4 with a 12 to 8 victory.

Despite the loss, the Keonimana Gents celebrate their 5th straight Kauai Senior Softball League Championship. With a 26 and 2 record the Gents had locked up the title three weeks ago. By taking the final game the Rookies will claim 2nd place outright in seeding for the state tournament.

The Islanders completed the schedule going up against West Kauai. The start time had been seriously extended due to the extra inning first game and the dramatic encounter between the Gents and Rookies. The extra time paid off with an abundance of hits for both clubs.

West Kauai had one of their best days at the plate with long bombs to the outfield fence producing double digit runs. Joe Bertucci was able to set his team in motion with another display of hitting.

The game went back and forth in the early innings but the Islanders were able to pull away using their speed on the bases. The Islanders took off and rapped their way to a 23 to 11 triumph.

Team tents surrounded the outfield at the opposite side of the Hanapepe Stadium complex as the youth baseball field had been converted to Senior Softball for 4 games with the Hanamaulu Hillsiders and Hana Hou to start things off. Pete Rayno has the Hillsiders coming on strong in the final weeks almost knocking off Barteks a week ago. Hana Hou is closing out the year with two straight wins in the books and looking for more.

The Hillsiders new look is paying off and their hitting is coming around getting ready for State competition. Hanamaulu used the twisting wins to put up 7 runs. Hana Hou stepped up and delivered an additional 7 runs to wrap up the year on a 14 to 7 advantage over the Hillsiders.

Da Kruzers were looking to end their season on a high note taking on Kuku’s Aces. The Aces have upped their game and are turning into a regular hitting machine. Da Kruzers are having their best season on record and are sporting a potent card of hitters. Scoring was not a problem and Da Kruzers raced the bases putting up 10 runs.

The Aces brought out the right bats and sprayed the field with hits turning into runs. The Aces had a great day at the plate and hammered out a 16 to 10 win.

Solid Steel closed out the set of games with a double header. First Tom Christy’s bunch faced the Aloha Kia Lihue A’s. Dwight Fujii has the A’s fighting for position in the tournament and league standings. With bracket placement on the line the A’s put together one of their best games in the second half.

The A’s pitching shut down the Steel’s power hitting lineup checking them on a few hits and 2 runs. Lihue’s hitters found all the right places for their hits and racked up a 14 run lead in 5 innings to end the game early with a 16 to 2 win.

The win puts Aloha Kia in a tie with Hana Hou in 6th place at 18-10. The Lihue A’s will be placed in the higher bracket for the State tournament bases on the two Lihue wins over Hana Hou.

Solid Steel brought the day to a close with Da Kruzers on the field. Stinging from the previous game Solid Steel went to work early blasting the power allies carving out a good lead. Da Kruzers were not going to go down easily and found a few runs to keep close.

The Steel went to work and built a sizeable lead headed into the final inning. Da Kruzers put on one of their best late game rallies and battled with a 7th inning charge. They cut the lead to two and got the tying runs on base. Solid Steel held on closed out the final inning taking a 13 to 11 win.

The Keonimana Gents captured their 5th straight league championship with their 26 and 2 record. The Rookies finish on a 14 game win streak in second place at 24 and 4. Both teams will represent Kauai in the top seeded “A” bracket at the State Tournament.

The Ohana Motors Rebels claim third place on a 23 and 5 record. Barteks and Ohana completed the season at 19 and 9 tied for fourth place. Barteks has the edge in the tie breaker system and will join the Rebels in the “B” bracket. Ohana will head to the “C” bracket of play. Ohana will be joined by the Aloha Kia Lihue A’s owning the advantage over Hana Hou in their tie for 6th on 18 wins and 10 losses.

Hana Hou and Solid Steel in their first years in the league will head to the “D” bracket of state competition. Solid Steel took 8th place behind a 16 and 12 inaugural season. Kawaihau and the Islanders are tied at 12 and 16 and will both represent Kauai in the same bracket.

The East Kauai Legends came in with 8 wins and 20 losses followed by Da Kruzers enjoying their best season at 7 and 21. Da Kruzers will not be heading to the tournament moving the Hanamaulu Hillsiders into their position. Kuku’s Aces finished on a strong note coming in at 3 and 25 with West Kauai standing at 1 and 27.

The 44th Hawaii State Senior Softball Championship Tournament will have 14 teams representing Kauai at the games in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island Aug. 6 through 8.

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