Plenty of big games
this week in OIA
baseball and basketball
By Nick Abramo
A number of first-place showdowns dot the baseball and basketball schedules during the latter part of this week.
Today at 4 p.m., Aiea (5-0) visits Pearl City (5-0-1) in a key Oahu Interscholastic Association West baseball matchup.
Then tonight at 6:30, Kahuku (6-0) visits five-time defending champion Kalaheo (5-1) in an OIA East girls basketball game.
The Mustangs suffered their only loss, a 46-23 McKinley rout, last week.
The Red Raiders don't get a break in their schedule. They travel to Moanalua (6-0) for another crucial game Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Two important OIA baseball games are scheduled for Saturday --Kailua (6-0) at Roosevelt (5-1) at 10 a.m. and Mililani (5-1) at Aiea at 1 p.m.
Na Alii a unit: Aiea is into the team ethic under baseball coach Ryan Kato.
"I stress to my boys that to be successful, they have to take care of their responsibilities," he said. "It doesn't matter who we're playing --the best team, the worst team. A ground ball hit to them is the same either way. It's the same with a fly ball."
Na Alii were co-champs in the OIA West with Waianae last year.
But, according to Kato, winning is a byproduct of doing all the little things.
"It's not all about winning," he said. "It's about getting good grades, coming to practice, making sure all the equipment is picked up, or picking up a kid's glove that was left behind and giving it to him the next day."
Aiea has five captains, catchers Justin Nii and Aaron Asher, and infielders Jonny Sakurai, Kepa Wong and Taylor Watanabe.
"It's not like any particular person is going to outshine anyone else," Kato said. "Everyone contributes on a given day, then someone else is going to do it the next time. This team is what I would categorize as a true team."
More girls on baseball rosters: Pac-Five isn't the only team in the state with girls on its baseball team.
Kapolei has two girls on its roster -- starting second baseman Valana Aloy-Manuma and backup outfielder Kawai Naki.
"Valana is one of our best infielders, if not the best," Hurricanes coach Tommy Ebanez said. "She's also one of our best bunters. She's not intimidated at the plate and is a tough out. She hardly strikes out."
Aloy-Manuma played for the Waipahu junior varsity team a year ago, while Naki was playing for the Kapolei JV squad.
"Kawai isn't afraid of anything, either, and plays hard," the coach said.
The Hurricanes (1-4) are in their first year of varsity competition and Ebanez is in his first year as head coach. He's been an assistant coach in various sports at Kapolei, Campbell and Kamehameha.
"One team. That's my philosophy," he said. "We try to run one system. Everybody gets treated the same, whether you're on JV or varsity.
"We're not going to quit until the final out. That's the way we've have been playing all season."
Two girls, Richie Titcomb and Mandy Yoshizu, are on the Pac-Five roster.
Buffanblu seek coach: Punahou cheerleading coach Maile Kapuniai has resigned to focus on her career in school counseling. She led the Buffanblu to a third-place finish at the state tournament this year.
Interested applicants can call Punahou athletic director Tom Holden at 944-5744 by May 2.
Raiders 40th: The state champion Iolani basketball team finished 40th in the final Student Sports Fab 50 national rankings.
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Athletes of the Week
>> Bronson Kamaka, Kailua baseball: Drove in the winning run and was the winning pitcher in the Surfriders' 15-inning victory over McKinley.
>> Mei Li Nickles, Mililani track and field: Won four individual events -- 100 hurdles, the long jump, triple jump and high jump -- and was part of the winning 4x100 relay team at the OIA West championship meet.
>> Kala Kaaihue, Iolani: Smashed a grand slam during a nine-run sixth inning as the Raiders edged Mid-Pacific 15-14.
>> Bill Tennent, Campbell: Went 4-for-5 with a double and triple in a win over Radford.
>> Blaze Moleta, Aiea: Pitched a two-hitter in a 2-0 win over Waianae.
>> Kaimi Mead, Roosevelt: Struck out 14 batters in a 5-1 win over Kalaheo.
>> Laosamoa Misa-Uli, Farrington: Scored 18 points in a win over Roosevelt.
>> Patti Hardimon, Moanalua: Drilled home 18 points in a victory over McKinley.
>> Jamie Nerona, Kaiser: Converted a three-point play with under a second to go in overtime to lift the Cougars over Kailua.
>> Lehua Yap, Nanakuli: Scored 22 points to lead the Golden Hawks over Waipahu.
>> Sandy Nakamura, Mililani: Notched 18 points in a victory over Waialua.
>> Latoya Wily, Kahuku: Scored 23 points in a win over Castle.
>> Lia Mickey, Radford: Scored 16 points in a key win over Campbell.
>> Diane Okubo and Kamaile Durrett, University: In two games, Okubo scored 36 points with 11 assists and 10 steals, while Durrett added 17 points and 23 rebounds.
>> Noelani Colburn, Aiea: Hit for 18 points in a win over Nanakuli.
>> Caroline Beddow, Mid-Pacific: Scored 15 of her team's 39 points in a two-point win over Sacred Hearts.
Track and Field
>> Andrew Maixner, Radford: Captured the 800, 1,500 and 3,000 at the OIA West meet.
>> Elizabeth Schall, Radford: Won the 800, 1,500 and 3,000 at the OIA West meet.