Aiea Soft­ball Team Faces Satur­day Show­down With Kala­heo

MidWeek Islander (West Oahu) - - West Oahu Sports - By JACK DANILEWICZ

For the Aiea girls soft­ball team, the next 10 days will equate to “the sea­son within the sea­son” as it looks to make a late run for the OIA White ti­tle.

With three games re­main­ing, be­gin­ning with a road date with Kala­heo Satur­day, ev­ery game is huge. A look at the AieaKala­heo matchup, as well as Thurs­day’s games in­volv­ing Di­vi­sion I teams Camp­bell, Kapolei, Pearl City and Waipahu, is be­low.

Mililani at Camp­bell — 3:30 p.m. Thurs­day

Pend­ing the out­come of last Satur­day’s Leile­hua game, and depend­ing on the out­come of this game, the door was open for the Sabers to move into the top spot in the Red West, not to men­tion gain the up­per hand for a fa­vor­able seed in the con­fer­ence tour­na­ment. Camp­bell en­tered last weekend a game be­hind those pro­grams as well as Wa­ianae. It’s a mon­u­men­tal matchup, as Camp­bell will close out its sea­son with three straight games on the road: at Waipahu April 15, at Pearl City April 17 and at Kapolei April 19. All three of Camp­bell’s losses have come by a sin­gle run.

De­fense, mean­while, has car­ried Mililani to date, as it yielded just nine runs in its first seven games, win­ning three by shutout and giv­ing up just one run in two oth­ers.

Kapolei at Leile­hua — 3:30 p.m. Thurs­day

Only a hand­ful of plays pre­vented Kapolei from hav­ing a much bet­ter record dur­ing the first round in the Red West, as it dropped heart­break­ing games to Wa­ianae 1-0, Pearl City 1- 0 and Camp­bell 4-3. A 3-1 break­through win over league­leader Mililani March 31 could fig­ure big down the road, should the Hur­ri­canes end up tied with the Tro­jans for a fa­vor­able seed­ing at the OIA tour­na­ment. Per­haps no game on its re­main­ing sched­ule is big­ger than this one. Games with Waipahu and ri­val Camp­bell fol­low for the Hur­ri­canes, who were 3-4 head­ing into last weekend. Sopho­more pitcher Kayla Pedebone has been the work­horse to date, with 34 in­nings of work through six out­ings.

For Leile­hua’s part, the Mules are the top of­fen­sive team in the league, hav­ing tal­lied a Red West-best 44 runs in their first seven games. This is the first of two games in as many days for Leile­hua, which will play at Mililani Fri­day.

Waipahu at Pearl City — 3:30 p.m. Thurs­day

The Charg­ers were the Red West’s hard-luck team through the first half of league play, drop­ping close games to Leile­hua 11-9, Wa­ianae 4-3 and Camp­bell 5-4. Those set­backs fol­lowed a 2-0 start by Pearl City. The Charg­ers still held a two-game lead on Waipahu for the last play­off spot from the West for the OIA tour­na­ment, head­ing into the weekend. Pearl City can im­prove its post- sea­son seed­ing con­sid­er­ably if it can go on a run over the last week of the sea­son as they close out their slate against three of the league’s best — Wa­ianae, Camp­bell and Mililani.

For Waipahu, runs have been hard to come by to date, as the Ma­raud­ers had scored just six runs in their first seven games.

Aiea at Kala­heo — 3 p.m. Satur­day

Fol­low­ing a 3-1 loss to OIA White leader Nanakuli in its opener, Aiea has been on a roll, win­ning six straight. Na Ali‘i’s task is to keep win­ning to keep pace with the Golden Hawks. That makes this game with Kala­heo a key con­test, es­pe­cially since it is the last of three straight road games for Aiea. Its last two games — against McKin­ley April 14 and Far­ring­ton April 17 — both will be at home.

In ad­di­tion to its pitch­ing and de­fen­sive play, Aiea has been able to count on its of­fen­sive out­put all sea­son, with 87 runs scored in seven out­ings. It won the first game against Kala­heo 11-5 at home

March 27.

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