Kailua Among ‘Most Pro­duc­tive’ Base­ball Teams Statewide

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

With the OIA base­ball sea­son near its mid­way point, ev­ery game is crit­i­cal for the play­off hopes of Cas­tle, Kala­heo and Kailua high teams.

A look at Wed­nes­day’s matchups, both at 3 p.m., is be­low. Cas­tle at Kailua Kailua en­tered last week­end as the East’s last un­beaten team, hav­ing rolled to four straight wins, in­clud­ing a 13-9 win over a good Kalani team last Tues­day. Kailua also was to play Moanalua (3-1 at press time) Satur­day be­fore turn­ing its at­ten­tion to the Cas­tle con­test. A huge home date with Kaiser also looms March 28 for the Surfrid­ers, who get to play five of their last seven games at home.

The team looks to keep its up­ward mo­bil­ity go­ing, of­fen­sively, as it has es­tab­lished it­self as one of the most pro­duc­tive teams in the state. Kailua is av­er­ag­ing 13.7 runs per out­ing through four games, and two of the wins (over Kaimuki and Kalani) came in games short­ened be­cause of the 10- run rule.

Matt Hanano, Dustin Imanaka, Dal­ton Kalama and Kila Thomas have been among Kailua’s of­fen­sive lead­ers to date.

The Knights were only a few plays away from a much bet­ter fate through their first three games, which left them at 1-2. They lost heart­break­ers to Kalani 3- 2 and Moanalua 5-3, but broke through with a huge 2-1 tri­umph over Roo­sevelt for their first win.

Se­nior pitcher Stephen Lee has been stel­lar for the Knights to date, with a pair of com­plete games al­ready un­der his belt only three games in.

Like Kailua, this is also a big week for the Knights, who will visit Kalani Satur­day, Moanalua April 1 and Roo­sevelt April 6. Kailua won both games against Cas­tle last sea­son, de­feat­ing the Knights by scores of 6-3 and 10-0. The ri­vals will meet again April 18 in the sea­son fi­nale for both teams.

McKin­ley v. Kala­heo, at Kailua Dis­trict Park

Kala­heo en­tered last week­end’s road game with Far­ring­ton hav­ing been idle for a week, fol­low­ing a game for­feited to the Mus­tangs by Kahuku last Wed­nes­day. The Mus­tangs’ only league game to date, there­fore, was their opener with Aiea — a 9-1 loss.

Kala­heo and head coach Jerry Bush are re­ly­ing on a vet­eran ros­ter this sea­son that in­cludes eight three­year var­sity play­ers. Se­nior All- Con­fer­ence cen­ter fielder Jack Bell, who is in his fourth sea­son as a starter, is among the team lead­ers. The team also fea­tures Kaleb Gil­more, Kekai and Jalen Smith from Kala­heo’s state cham­pi­onship bas­ket­ball team, and soc­cer stand­outs Ten­ni­son Cantrell and Thomas Capllonch.

Bush went with three pitch­ers in the sea­son opener, in­clud­ing Gil­more and Capllonch as well as starter Kaliu Lapera.

The McKin­ley game marks the first for Kala­heo in a stretch that will see the Mus­tangs play four of their next five at home ( Kailua Dis­trict Park): Wa­ialua April 1, Nanakuli April 4 and Far­ring­ton April 18.

McKin­ley has strug­gled out of the gate, mean­while, hav­ing been over­whelmed 21-2 by Far­ring­ton and 40-0 by Aiea in its first two games. The sched­ule con­tin­ued to be de­mand­ing for the Tigers, who were to play Wa­ialua over the week­end be­fore get­ting ready for the Mus­tangs.

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