Marauders go up against Owls in ALL key game tonight
By JACK DANILEWICZ
As American Legion League hit its midway point late last week, Waipahu coach Milton Takenaka declared his team to be “on the bubble” for the post-season.
The Marauders, who were 6-4 through their first 10 games, must finish in the top eight of the 20-team league in order to make the playoffs. Entering last weekend’s game with fellow OIA member Roosevelt, Waipahu had exactly 10 games remaining on its schedule.
Of those, none figures bigger than Wednesday’s home date with Mid-Pacific, which will begin at 4:30 p.m. At press time, the Owls had dropped only one game.
“ During the summer, they haven’t been hitting as well (as during their ILH season in the spring), but their pitching and defense have been good,” Takenaka said of Mid-Pac. “The main thing is that they don’t hurt themselves.”
He’s looking for more solid outings from his own team.
“Our pitching will have to be a little bit better (in the season’s second half). Offensively, we haven’t been too bad, but with our defense and our pitching, we’ve struggled. Against Mid-Pac, we’ll have to throw strikes and not make mistakes ourselves.”
In addition to players projected to play next spring for Waipahu, the Marauders also have former players on the roster as well as players from Pearl City and Saint Louis. Among the summer returnees are catcher/first baseman Ignatius Mackenzie, who helped lead Waipahu to OIA Division II titles in 2008 and 2009. His talents now belong to Indiana Tech College.
“He’s been playing pretty well,” Takenaka said. “He’s been hitting the ball, and we’ve been shuffling him back and forth between first base and catcher.
“I think with his going away to college, he’s matured a little bit — which is what is supposed to happen. I can see a difference in him.”
Former Marauders Kaimi Mead and Triton Gante also are in the fold as well as Pearl City standouts Chevas Numata and Tyler Tokunaga.
“Tyler’s been playing well, defensively,” Takenaka said. “Offensively, he’s been picking it up a bit also.
“Chevas has been playing real well, defensively. He’s been in a mini slump with his bat, but we think he’ll come around.”
As a group, consistency has been an issue, he noted.
“ We’ve been hot and cold.”
The ALL playoffs begin July 21, and the winner of the league’s post-season tournament will advance to the Western Regionals Aug. 5-8 at UNLV. The region includes teams from Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Hawaii.
Regional winners from around the country advance to the World Series, which runs from Aug. 12 to 16 in Spokane.