By JOE FERRARO
Nearing the midway point of the season, both Waiakea and Kealakehe have targeted one area of improvement: hitting with runners in scoring position.
While the Warriors made strides in that department Tuesday at Kealakehe, the Waveriders still have some work to do.
Senior pitcher Alexis Anzai went the distance in a four-hitter, and seven of the nine Waiakea starters drove in two runs or more as Waiakea beat Kealakehe 22-3 in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation softball game.
Three days earlier, Warriors softball coach Bo Saiki said, Waiakea (3-1 BIIF, 5-3 overall) missed out on several golden opportunities to score runs in a 13-12 home loss to Honokaa.
“We had runners on third all day long, and we couldn’t hit the ball,” Saiki said.
That wasn’t the case against on Tuesday.
Kealakehe (1-3, 3-4) helped give Waiakea its scoring chances early in the game, walking four batters, hitting another and making three errors in the first three innings.
The Warriors took full advantage.
Freshman Taylor Nishimura and senior Brandi Maximo had back-to-back RBI singles in a four-run first inning, and Maximo capped a four-run second inning by blasting an RBI triple to center field. After Cheylee Octavio came through with a run-scoring single in the third, Waiakea found itself leading 9-3 and squarely in control of its game.
The Warriors then sent 18 batters to the plate in a 13-run sixth inning, with Elizabeth Sakamoto and Jayla Costa highlighting the frame with two-run singles.
Sakamoto and Costa each finished with three RBIs, while Maximo, Octavio and Ariana Mareko all went 2 for 5 with two RBIs. Nishimura and Kaelee Carvalho added two RBIs apiece.
Anzai got off to a rough start, allowing three runs on two hits in the first inning and often falling behind in the count to the Waveriders. But after Nicole Cerezo led off the bottom of the second with a double, Anzai didn’t allow another hit the rest of the way.
The senior walked the bases loaded with one out in the third, but got Cerezo on a pop fly to shortstop before striking out Shrue Abraham.
“I was telling myself, ‘I need to get ahead of the batters so they can’t pick my pitches,’” said Anzai, who walked five batters and struck out five.
Saiki said Anzai normally needs some time to find her groove in the beginning of games.
“Once she settled in — 10 to 15 pitches — she’s fine,” Saiki said. “I’m not worried about her.”
Kealakehe coach Wesley Takimoto said he wasn’t worried about his team’s hitting woes, saying the Waveriders still have time to improve.
Tavian Taketa led off the game with a double to left. One out later, Lina Palmer-Kahananui and Ashley Isisaki strung together back-to-back singles.
However, the Waveriders left six runners on base — three in scoring position.
“Right now, we cannot not — we’re not quite getting there,” Takimoto said. “We have the second half (of the season) to go. It’s a long season.”
Isisaki, who started the game by hitting Costa with a pitch and walking Octavio, took the loss.
Palmer-Kahananui relieved her and pitched the next five innings. She allowed 15 runs — 10 earned — on eight hits. She struck out three and walked six.
Waiakea 441 00(13) — 22 10 2
Kealakehe 210 000 — 3 4 5
Hilo 7, Kohala 6: Shyanne-Higa Gonsalves went 2 for 4 and scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Vikings won at Walter Victor Stadium to remain undefeated.
Gonsalves led off the sixth with a single and scored with the help of two Kohala errors.
Aliesa Kaneshiro was also 2 for 4 with an RBI double and pitched a complete game as the Vikings (4-0, BIIF 8-0) rallied from 4-1 and 6-2 deficits. The junior struck out seven and allowed five hits and six walks.
Jordyn Breitbarth also was 2 for 4 and Shalyn Guthier hit a two-run double to fuel a four-run fifth inning for Hilo.
Sheana Cazimero and Ashlyn Van Zandt had RBI singles for the Cowgirls (1-3, 2-5).
Tiani Luga went the distance in taking the loss, allowing nine hits and two walks with a strikeout.
Kohala 040 200 0 — 6 5 8
Hilo 011 041 x —7 9 2
Kamehameha 11, Konawaena 3: At Keaau, Gayla Ha-Cabebe hit a two-run homer and Mykala Tokunaga and Samantha Simmons each had two hits as the Warriors (4-0, 7-1) remained in first place in Division II.
Tokunaga also was the winning pitcher. Bethany Batangan took the loss for the Wildcats (2-2, 4-3).
Keaau 9, Hawaii Prep 3: With a win at home the Cougars improved to 4-0, 6-2. The Ka Makani fell to 0-4, 0-8.
No further details were available.