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Top of the order continues to deliver for Rainbows


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POSTED: Thursday, May 27, 2010

MESA, Ariz. » One Kamehameha graduate had the perfect front-row seat for another's late-game heroics.

Freshman Pi'ikea Kitamura, who went to school on the Kapalama campus, watched from the on-deck circle as Kolten Wong, a 2008 Kamehameha-Hawaii alum, hit game-tying and game-winning home runs in Hawaii's 8-7, 10-inning win over Louisiana Tech yesterday at Hohokam Stadium.

“;I just threw my bat and threw my helmet, because I knew it was gone as soon as he hit it,”; Kitamura said. “;I expect nothing less from him because he's a great hitter.”;

Kitamura, who went 2-for-4 and reached base three times, has been a regular fixture in the two-hole since mid-April.

Even though he's not the prototypical No. 2, batting just .223 with an on-base percentage of .310, Kitamura has been one of Hawaii's better hitters at moving runners over.

“;Kolten gets on the majority of the time, so whatever I have to do to get him over is what I have to do,”; Kitamura said. “;I take a lot of pride in that and I've got (Jeff Van Doornum) hitting behind me to drive guys in, so it's my job to get guys over and help the team.”;

The move has paid off as Hawaii is 9-4 when Wong and Kitamura hit 1-2.

Roquemore with the gun

Fifth-year senior Matt Roquemore had a productive day at the plate, scoring twice and driving in two runs.

But his biggest play came in the field. With no outs in the third inning, Will Alvis followed a leadoff triple by Clint Stubbs with a fly ball to left field. Roquemore charged it aggressively, made the catch, then launched a bullet to home plate to throw out Stubbs trying to score from third.

The play at the time kept starter Josh Slaats' shutout intact.

“;I threw it as hard as I could,”; Roquemore said. “;It was a big play for us because it kept Slaats going and he settled in after that and kept it going a couple of more innings.”;

Extra inning madness

After 44 games of nine innings or less to start the season, five of Hawaii's last 11 have gone extra innings.

Hawaii lost 8-7 in 12 innings against Nevada on May 2, but has won the next four, including the last two games of the season.

Hawaii ended the regular season with a 17-14 win in 11 innings at San Jose State.

“;This group never believes it's out of a game,”; Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. “;They've got confidence in each other, believe in each other and love each other.”;

Clutch city

Not only has Hawaii seen its share of extra-inning games recently, it's also had plenty of heroics.

Wong became the third Rainbow to record a walk-off hit in the month of May.

Van Doornum hit walk-off home runs against Nevada and New Mexico State and Collin Bennett hit the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning in the same series against the Aggies.

Bennett also had a walk-off RBI single against Oregon State in the opening series of the season.