LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i High senior pitcher Dahlus Hood tried to approach Saturday’s Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation game against Waimea High like a normal game.
That wasn’t easy for Hood and the rest of the Red Raider and Menehune seniors, who participated in what could be their last game of the season and their KIF careers at Vidinha Stadium.
Friday afternoon the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association in conjunction with its member leagues including the Big Island Interscholastic Federation, Interscholastic League of Honolulu, the KIF, Maui Interscholastic League and O‘ahu Interscholastic Association, announced that, effective Monday, March 16, all interscholastic competition would be suspended indefinitely because of the evolving COVID-19 public-health threat.
Even though Hood admits his disappointment, the news of the suspension wasn’t a surprise to him and his teammates.
“We were shocked, but at the same time, we felt like it was going to happen,” Hood said. “Hopefully, this isn’t our last day. We are going to play baseball. We will still practice and be ready to continue to play and keep preparing, and we are going to play harder.”
The seniors were honored in what may be the last game of the season, and Waimea, a team that finished second in the HHSAA Division II baseball state tournament last year, defeated Kaua‘i High 9-8 as part of a three-series conference opener, and possibly closer.
“(The conference opener) was a thriller through seven innings,” Menehune baseball coach Chad Delanoza said. “We just had to take advantage of our opportunity and go play baseball. I have to give Kaua‘i a lot of credit. Ater they were down by five runs, they kept us on our toes, and we’re glad about our outcome.”
The Menehune took an early lead, and their run-production began when Kanaan Ephan scored on an error by Chayse Garcia that allowed Kainalu Lazaro to advance to third and Levi Snowden to move to second on the same error, which set up Kash Akita’s two-RBI single, scoring Snowden and Lazaro.
In the top of the second, Waimea increased its lead when Deiton Otoman grounded into a fielder’s choice that allowed Cory Goias-Soares to score and give the Menehune a 4-0 advantage. Noa Aquino advanced to third on the play and then scored after tagging up when Kaikoa Perreira-Alquiza flied out to the right field.
Down 5-0, the Red Raiders didn’t quit, and they came charging back, scoring eight unanswered runs in the bottom of the second, third, and fourth to take an 8-5 lead.
Kaua‘i High’s Taylor Apilado singled on a line drive to left field to give the Red Raiders their first run and conclude the scoring for the bottom of the second.
Wailele Kane Yates allowed the Red Raiders to gain additional momentum when he drove in Keanu Silva after flying out to right field.
Later in the inning, Chayse Garcia doubled on a fly ball to right field, scoring Nainoa Kane Yates, making the score 5-3, which was followed by RBI single by Apilado that scored Garcia to make the score 5-4.
Nainoa Kane Yates had a sacrifice fly to center that drove in Lanakila Lovell-Obatake for the tying run.
Hood then doubled on a fly ball to the right, which scored Wailele Kane Gates and Avery Casticimo for the go-ahead score, 7-5.
The Menehune answered in the top of the fifth with a three-run inning.
Snowden got things started on a ground ball single to right field that scored Ephan, and advanced Lazaro to second.
Akita’s fly ball to center allowed Lazaro to score and advanced Snowden to third.
With two outs, Micah Malapit grounded into a fielder’s choice to third to advance Akita home to give the Menehune an 8-7 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Red Raider Josh Guarin scored on an error by Kobe Perez Aguilar that made the score 8-8.
At the top of the seventh, Waimea finished the scoring when Snowden scored on passed balls to give them the 9-8 lead and victory, the first and possibly only conference win of the season.
Delanoza and his team did what they had to do in the situation where their season is either canceled or cut short.
“In this scenario, I just told the kids to take care of today,” Delanoza said. “We have to take care of today, and find out what we have to do next, and it was a great effort by our kids.”
Both teams celebrated senior night during the game.
“I need to stay in the moment and believe in the opportunities as far as the season goes,” Delanoza said. “This feels nice to come out and decorate the bleachers and the stands not knowing what the outcome is going to be (for the season).”
Spencer Yates told his team to keep a positive attitude moving forward. According to Yates, the Red Raiders can still practice together at this juncture.
“We are going to try to keep going,” Spencer Yates said. “I am not sure what is going to happen for the season, and we have a big meeting on Monday, and we are hoping for more games.”
The game was part of a three-team series. For more results, see Monday’s edition of The Garden Island newspaper.
Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.