Campbell Sabers Team To Catch In OIA Baseball Red West
By JACK DANILEWICZ
There currently are seven teams in the OIA Red West baseball conference, and six of them have had the same mindset throughout the spring: Catch Campbell.
The defending OIA Division I champion Sabers remains the team to beat entering its final week of the season. A look at Campbell’s matchup with Aiea follows, as well as previews of the other games involving West Oahu teams. All games start at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Waipahu at Kapolei
After suffering three heartbreaking losses amid a 1-5 start, Kapolei recently broke through in a big way with a pair of season-changing victories over both Aiea (9-6) and Leilehua (8-1) to better position itself for a post-season berth. Given their near-misses, the Hurricanes are probably the best 3-5 team in the state, as a 10-0 loss to Red West-leader Campbell at mid-season remains the only game where Kapolei didn’t get within striking distance.
The team was to play Campbell and Mililani late last week before facing Waipahu. A game Saturday against Pearl City follows at CORP, the outcome of which should loom large for both programs’ playoff seedings.
Waipahu entered the end of last week in sole possession of second place, giving it the inside track on a first-round bye for the post-season, should it win its last four games. It will have to do it on the road, however. Games at Campbell and Pearl City were on the slate late last week (after press time) for the Marauders, with their season finale at Leilehua Friday. Waipahu won the first Kapolei game 12-7 last month.
Aiea at Campbell
Having yielded a mere eight runs in its first eight games, Campbell has established itself as the state’s top defensive team. Since giving up four in its season-opening 5-4 win over Mililani March 5, the Sabers have grown stronger, posting four shutouts and relinquishing no more than a single run in one outing – an 8-2 win over Pearl City.
Zach Kapihe (two wins, one save), Dorrien Villanueva-Hemosura (two wins, one save), Ian Kahaloa (three wins) and Dirk Patrick Hinman (one win) accounted for Campbell’s eight wins on the mound as of late last Thursday. Offensively, the team also has been stellar with a league-best 59 runs.
Aiea is playing some of its best baseball lately, with wins in four of its last five games heading into last weekend’s Leilehua game. A full week off from action preceded that game, leaving Aiea with a well-rested pitching staff.
Campbell won the first game between the teams 10-1 March 15.
Pearl City at Leilehua
A four-game skid left Pearl City in ‘must win’ mode as it entered a game with Waipahu late last week. This one against Leilehua is equally important for playoff hopes, as Pearl City entered the weekend holding just a one-game edge over the Mules in the standings (and the race for the sixth and final playoff spot from the Red West).
Pearl City owns the head-to-head tie-breaker over Leilehua at present, since it defeated the Mules in the first game last month. The Chargers’ three wins left them tied with Kapolei, whom they will meet Saturday for the sixth spot.
Leilehua can get back in the mix for that spot with a win here and another on Friday, when it hosts Waipahu in another huge game. A road trip to Campbell closes out Leilehua’s slate next Monday. The Mules will look for more offensive output this week in their quest to qualify for the playoffs, as their 19 runs in seven games was the lowest in the league as of press time.
Email Jack Danilewicz at email@example.com