Wild West showdown set
A lot of key matchups are in store today in OIA West baseball. Among them is Kapolei and Aiea.
Na Alii rose to No. 3 in yesterday's Star-Bulletin Baseball Top 10, to no surprise. The Hurricanes, however, are still a bit of a mystery despite a 7-2 record in the West.
Kapolei's Aaron Santiago was banged up during football season, but got healthy and regained his form for baseball. The senior shortstop is batting .481.
"He has been our steady guy all year long. The kids are starting to feed off him," coach Tom Ebanez said. Michael Kahalehoe, another football player who has healed up, is hitting .522 since entering the lineup at first base.
"We couldn't find anything for him besides DH. Then our first baseman got hurt, so we slid him over there and he's been hitting the ball," Ebanez said.
Center fielder Curtis Donald leads the team with a .529 average. The sparkling numbers don't do justice to the team's real strength: chemistry.
"The kids are totally different from years past. The difference is that they made a commitment from the beginning of the year. They've been together since November. A lot of things we've done, even like working the concession stand for other sports, they didn't want to break down in shifts. They want to work together," Ebanez said.
"They've got each other's back. When I talk about the kids, I get chicken skin," he added. "I enjoy watching these kids, not because we're winning. We're blessed."
Today's game at Aiea is big in many ways.
"I don't know if we're on the same tier as Aiea. Every year they come out with tough teams. Every year I hear this is a down year for them, but they're 8-1 and they know how to play baseball," Ebanez said.
"This game not only means a lot for seeding and playoffs. This is ... our second time in the playoffs. What it means for these kids is respect. They want to be on the same level as Aiea and Mililani and Pearl City, but the only way to get there is to beat them," Ebanez said.
High school report
Athletes Of The Week
He went 3-for-4 against Castle and fired a four-hit shutout against Kalani.
The junior scored 18 points and had nine rebounds, five steals and four assists vs. Kalani.
» Christian Awaya, Roosevelt:
went 3-for-3 with two RBIs against Kaiser.
» Raymond Carey, McKinley: went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer against Farrington.
» Dustin Dela Pena, Kaiser: went 3-for-3 with a home run and double against Castle.
» Michael Estes, McKinley: went 3-for-4 against Farrington.
» Kyle Gonzaga, Saint Louis: went 3-for-3 with a triple and double against Mid-Pacific.
» Jonathan Ho, McKinley: went 3-for-4 against Farrington.
» Jason Hopper, Kaimuki: went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored against Farrington.
» Toby Inouye, Kaiser: hurled a three-hitter against Castle.
» Michael Kawashima, Kaiser: drove in four runs against Castle.
» Matthew McDaniel, Mid-Pacific: pitched a five-hitter against Saint Louis.
» Ryan Murakami, Aiea: went 3-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs against Waipahu.
» Daren Muramoto, Kaimuki: went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored against Farrington.
» Diamond Pedro, Farrington: went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored against Kaimuki.
» Michael Sanchez, Kapolei: pitched a three-hitter and went 3-for-3 with a double against Waialua.
» Kevin Van Ness, Kahuku: went 3-for-3 with a double against Kalaheo.
» Nick Wong, Roosevelt: went 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI against Kaiser.
» Nalani Bayne, Sacred Hearts:
scored 20 points, including the winning basket with 2 seconds to play, against Punahou II.
» Shanadee Canon, Kalaheo: scored 21 points against Moanalua.
» Janelle Fetui, Hanalani: scored 25 points against Word of Life.
» Mana Hopkins, Konawaena: scored 25 points against Pahoa.
» C'ani Kealoha, Farrington: scored 21 points against Kahuku.
» Chelsie Sato, McKinley: scored 20 points and had 12 rebounds against Castle.
» Vicky Tagalicod, Hilo: scored 26 points against Ka'u.
» Tressa Torres, Punahou: The sophomore had 26 points and seven rebounds against Mid-Pacific.
» Katrina Higa, Aiea:
shot an 85 to pace the OIA West girls tournament at Makaha Valley Country Club.
» Inoka Kahawaii, Kahuku: carded a 74 to lead the OIA East boys tournament at Oahu Country Club.
» Haku Maluenda, Campbell: fired a 69 to lead the OIA West boys tourney at Makaha Valley Country Club.
» Haaheo Manini-Hew Len, Roosevelt: posted a 90 to place first in the OIA East girls tournament at Oahu Country Club.
» Megan Yoshimoto, Mililani:
swept Pearl City's Tezra Damaso for the OIA title.
» Colin Fujishige, Castle: won the OIA championship in straight sets over Matt Tavares of McKinley.
» Lei Cheung, McKinley:
scored five goals against Moanalua.
» Tanya Sifton, Kahuku: scored six goals against Kaiser.
» Kiana Yoshikawa, McKinley: scored six goals against Moanalua.
529-4787. E-mail: email@example.com
To nominate ...
To nominate an athlete of the week, contact the Star-Bulletin Sports Department by 11 p.m. Sunday: