Knights, Surfriders Playing OIA Tourney Teams This Week

For the Castle and Kailua High School baseball teams, the “second season” finally arrived today (April 30) with the beginning of the OIA tournament at campuses across Oahu. (Match-ups and locations were still to be determined at press time, but Kailua is assured of hosting a quarterfinal game at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.)

The OIA semi-finals and championship game will be played Friday and Saturday, respectively, at Waipahu’s Hans L’Orange Field. The top six finishers at that tournament receive the league’s berths for the Division I state tournament May 13-16 in Les Murakami Stadium at UH Manoa.

Below is a look at the two Windward contenders.

Castle Knights

Season record: 2-10 in OIA Red East

Key wins: Over Kalaheo 9-5 March 13, over Kalaheo 5-1 April 5

Knights at a glance: If any team can speak to the strength of the Red East, it is the Knights, who were one of only two teams to finish with a losing record.

Kalani, Kaiser, Roosevelt, Moanalua and season champion Kailua all posted at least seven wins in their 12-game schedules.

Castle’s youth helps explain why it was hard-pressed to win this spring, as half of the players are underclassmen. Even so, a clean slate awaits Castle this week, as well as the opportunity to earn one of the league’s six berths for the upcoming state tournament if it can string some wins together.

The greater chore is to bolster offensive output, as the Knights’ 43 runs scored during the season made them sixth overall in the Red East.

Kailua Surfriders

Season record: 9-3 in OIA Red East

Key wins: Over Moanalua 7-3 March 10, over Kalani 2-0 March 12, over Roosevelt 4-3 April 16

Surfriders at a glance: Earning a first-round bye was a huge boost for a team that won every home game during its Red East season this spring.

Kailua also was one of the OIA’s most consistent teams, winning three of its last four games. The Surfriders also began league play by going 4-0. The question now is whether an 11-day layoff between season’s end and the start of this week’s OIA tourney will help or hinder Kailua’s chances. The time off should benefit the pitching staff, which enters today’s game with fresh arms. While pitching and defense have figured big to date, the post-season could hinge on offensive production the rest of the way.

Kailua owns an 8-1 record when scoring four runs or more. The Surfriders currently have three players – Brendan Oda (.438), Dalton Kalama (.375) and Jameson White (.407) – batting over .350.