Ma­raud­ers go up against Owls in ALL key game tonight

MidWeek Islander (West Oahu) - - Front Page -

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.

Con­tac­tJack­Danilewiczat Jack­ster.1969@ya­hoo.com.

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