KAPA‘A — With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Kapa‘a High School Warriors were down 2-1 to the Kaua‘i High School Red Raiders Wednesday at Ron Martin Field in Kapa‘a. But Kapa‘a had runners on second and third.
Robert Soares stepped into the box and turned a six-pitch at bat into a line drive single to tie the game at 2-2.
Two pitches later, the Warriors were celebrating its opening day 3-2 victory.
It was off of an AJ Cummings ground ball that Kaua‘i’s third baseman Micah Layosa threw away.
Kapa‘a turned a less-than-stellar offensive performance into a win by playing small ball late in the game.
“A lot of ground balls,” said Head Coach Bryan Aiwohi. “They have to learn to be patient and that’s why we went to our small game. We just try to put pressure on the defense, and if you are not hitting, you have to do all the small stuff.”
The last inning for Kapa‘a consisted of a hit-by-pitch, a sacrifice bunt, two stolen bases, two Kaua‘i errors and a single.
The Warriors finished with three runs on four hits and three errors. Soares went 1 for 2 with an RBI, while Cummings finished 1 for 4.
Kaua‘i dropped its third straight game.
Again, it was the lack of offense coupled with late-game mistakes, which came back to bite the Red Raiders.
Head Coach Ryden Domingsel knows that mistakes are going to happen with a young team, but blames no single player for the loss.
“We are just learning how to finish,” said Domingsel. “It’s not one individual’s fault on this team. When we lose, it’s on me. When we win, it’s on the kids.”
When the Red Raiders went up against Waimea, it was the lack of production with runners on base that hurt Kaua‘i. Wednesday, it was the lack of being able to get runners on base. Kaua‘i finished with two runs on three hits and committed two errors, both of which came in the bottom of the seventh.
The Red Raiders have showed an ability to pitch in the young season.
In Wednesday’s game, Tyler Manibog pitched a strong 61⁄3 inning outing. Manibog gave up four hits and two earned runs.
Opposing Manibog was Warrior ace Rashan Kuhaulua, who struggled at times with his command but still did enough to walk away with the complete game win.
“(Kuhaulua) was off his game,” Aiwohi said. “His pace was a little off, and he elevated some of his pitches and his mistakes they got hits on him.”
Despite being slightly erratic, Kuhaulua finished with 7 innings, 1 earned run and 4 strikeouts.
With the victory, the Warriors will move its sights to the undefeated Waimea Menehune on Saturday, and coach Aiwohi knows it won’t be an easy task.
“We are going back to basics on our hitting drills,” said Aiwohi. “We are going to face two good pitchers in Freitas and Rita. They are good, and they are two different speeds, too.”
The Red Raiders drop to 0-3 and will also face Waimea on Wednesday in search of its first win.