Kailua Among ‘Most Productive’ Baseball Teams Statewide

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 three-year 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.