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West Baseball Teams Hope To Finish Strong At Season’s End

The final week of the OIA baseball season has arrived with much still to be decided for Aiea, Campbell, Kapolei, Pearl City and Waipahu. A look at their April 15 matchups is below. All games begin at 3 p.m.

Waialua at Aiea

Na Ali‘i entered the weekend as the last unbeaten team in OIA’s Division II, and more importantly, had all but locked up the top seed from the West by last weekend’s game against Nanakuli. Aiea’s riveting 3-2 win over Kapolei April 8 gave it a season sweep of the Hurricanes and a two-game lead in the standings. If anything, Aiea has been the league’s most balanced team throughout 2015, defeating its opponents by an average score of 16-1.

Waialua was on the bubble for a playoff spot at press time, so Aiea can expect to receive the Bulldogs’ best effort. This will be the first game between the teams, as Waialua and Aiea’s initial game was rained out March 30.

Waipahu at Mililani

Waipahu’s 1-0 win over Waianae April 8 was a much-needed boost for the Marauders, who had dropped five straight to slip to 3-6 in the DI West at press time. The Marauders remain a dangerous team, nevertheless, as most of their losses have been close encounters — 4-2 to Pearl City, 3-1 to Pearl City, 5-4 to Leilehua. Waipahu also was only a couple of plays away from a better fate in its 7-5 loss to this same Mililani team March 21, so expect a playoff atmosphere for this rematch.

Mililani has been the league’s most consistent outfit, and it found itself with a two-game lead over second-place Campbell in the standings at the end of last week. The Trojans’ ability to win the close games has separated them from the pack, as they are 4-0 in games decided by one run.

Pearl City at Campbell

Although Leilehua’s win over Campbell April 8 left it two games behind league-leader Mililani in the season race, a first-round bye for the upcoming OIA tournament is very much within reach, if the Sabers have a strong week. That has to begin here against a solid Pearl City team, which suddenly finds itself in the running for the West’s No. 2 seed as well after having won four of its last five games at press time. The Chargers also were to play Mililani over the weekend, giving them an opportunity to further solidify their playoff position. Pearl City will finish up its West slate Saturday against Waianae, while Campbell meets Mililani Friday at Hans L’Orange Park in a much-anticipated matchup. Campbell is led by West Player of the Year candidate Ian Kahaloa. In addition to being the ace in the Saber pitching staff, he entered the weekend as the OIA’s leader in runs driven in with 11. The Sabers are hardly a oneman operation in the pitching department, however, as they have already posted six shutouts.

Nanakuli at Kapolei

A pair of one-run losses to OIA DII leader Aiea were the only blemishes on Kapolei’s resume heading into last weekend. And while it may be out of the running for the league’s season crown, it has to feel good about its chances in the upcoming DII tournament, having been only a handful of plays from being 8-0 instead of 6-2 at press time.

Kapolei’s offensive output has served it well to date, as it’s reached double digits in five of its six wins — the other being a forfeited game by Kahuku.

This game will serve as a springboard into the playoffs for the Hurricanes, who will have extra time to rest afterward since this is their final season game. The rest of their DII counterparts will play Saturday. jackster.1969@yahoo.com