West Baseball Teams Battle For Favorable Playoff Seed
For the teams in the OIA Red West, the coming weeks will be about getting into favorable playoff seeding. A look at today’s key baseball games (April 2) involving Aiea, Campbell, Pearl City, Kapolei and Waipahu follows. All games start at 3:30 p.m.
Aiea at Kapolei
This game can safely be placed in the “must win” category for Aiea, which was tied with Kapolei for the last playoff spot in the Red West at press time. Aiea dropped the earlier game between the two schools, 7-5, back on March 8, giving Kapolei an advantage in the head-to-head tie-breaker, should the two teams find themselves still battling for the final slot at season’s end. After four straight losses to begin league play, Aiea broke through with a huge 4-1 win over Mililani recently to gain some momentum.
A game with Leilehua, also winnable, was to follow over the weekend for Aiea. It will have to make its playoff push on the road, as this game is the first of four straight away games.
For its part, Kapolei has been one of the Red West’s hard-luck outfits, having dropped close encounters to Pearl City and Leilehua by one run each. The Hurricanes also played well in a 12-7 loss March 17 to one of the league’s best teams, Waipahu.
Campbell at Pearl City
Stellar pitching has buoyed the Sabers in their 5-0 start, as three wins have come by way of shutouts. To that end, Ian Kahaloa, Dorrien Villanueva-Hermosura, Zach Kapihe and Dirk Patrick Himan all have been solid on the mound for Campbell, whose only real close game to date was a 5-4 win over Mililani opening day. The Sabers were to play Waipahu in a much-anticipated contest over the weekend prior to this game with Pearl City, which is the third in a stretch of four road games for Campbell.
For Pearl City, this outing will be its first following a 10-day layoff. The Chargers had won two of their last three prior to their break, having posted wins over Leilehua and Kapolei before a loss to Waipahu. Generating more offensive output figures to be the theme the rest of the way for Pearl City, which is 3-0 in Red West play when scoring at least three runs. Conversely, Pearl City has mustered just one run total in its three league losses. Charger lead-off man Tanner Tokunaga is batting .529 to date with five extra base hits to his credit.
Mililani at Waipahu
With a loss to these same Trojans the only blemish on its record as of late last week, Waipahu may have revenge on its mind when it takes the field this time. The Marauders will be coming into this contest after having met Campbell in a much-anticipated game over the weekend, the outcome of which could go a long way in determining the Red West champion.
After this Saturday’s home date with Aiea, Waipahu will turn its attention to a stretch of three straight road games (Pearl City, Campbell and Kapolei) to finish out its Red West slate. Pitching has largely carried Waipahu to date, as it won its Leilehua and Pearl City games by shutout and the Aiea game 6-1. Only Kapolei has scored more than a single run against Waipahu, putting up seven in a losing effort. Mililani entered last weekend only a couple of plays from being 4-1 rather than 2-3, with tough losses to Leilehua (5-3) and league leader Campbell (5-4).