OIA Baseball
Kapaku, Golden Hawks edge Na Alii in shutout


Wed, Mar 15, 2023 @ [ 3:00 pm ]

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Aiea 0 000000032
Nanakuli 0 0 1000X172

W: Donald Kapaku    L: Aidan Yoshida

NANA: Dallas Alapai 3-3 run trp; Donald Kapaku 7.0 IP 0 ER 6 K
AIEA: Brennen Panis 1-3; Aidan Yoshida 6.0 IP 1 ER 5 K

The Nanakuli Golden Hawks are proving that they belong in Division I.

Donald Kapaku Jr. spearheaded a complete-game shutout on the mound as Nanakuli topped visiting Aiea, 1-0, Wednesday afternoon in an OIA Division-I West contest.

Leadoff batter Dallas Alapai led the Golden Hawks at the plate with a 3-for-3 performance while adding a triple and scoring the game's lone run.

Nanakuli improved to 2-1 in the regular season with the win, its second in as many games. All of the Golden Hawks' league contests so far have been decided by a single run.

"The boys is just resilient," Nanakuli coach Donald Kapaku Sr. said. "They're scrappers, they're fighters. They not going give up until the very end. Our defense shows… just locking it down. That's our game plan. Lock it down and sneak in a run or two."

The Golden Hawks won their first-ever OIA title last year in Division II before making the move up a tier this season.

"The whole reason why we came up is so we can prove to ourselves and our community that we can battle with all these bigger schools than us, that's just the mindset that we're trying to set at Nanakuli," Kapaku Sr. said.

Dallas Alapai led the Golden Hawks at the plate with a 3-for-3 performance, that included a triple and the game's only run. Michael Lasquero | SL    Purchase image

Wednesday was an example of that as Nanakuli edged Aiea (1-2) in a tight pitcher's battle against Na Alii's Aidan Yoshida.

With his slider and fastball working for him, Kapaku Jr. scattered three hits in seven innings while striking out six and giving up just one walk on 90 pitches to earn his first win of the year on the mound. He went after the Aiea batters early with two swinging strikeouts to start the game. The Nanakuli ace kept that hot start going into the second inning, needing just 11 pitches to notch three strikeouts in the frame.

"I knew I had it all the way through, just had to get my confidence up there. I know I can compete with them and that I can compete on this level," said Kapaku Jr.

The Golden Hawks also supported their ace with a number of impressive defensive plays in the field. They turned a 6-3 double play to end the third inning and caught a runner stealing second to close out the fourth. Shortstop Jordan Kay had a hand in both of those inning-ending plays.

The outfield trio of left fielder Harley Lee, center fielder Micah Nihoa and right fielder Ronald Vea were also stellar throughout the contest and were responsible for the final three outs of the game.

The most crucial play came in the top of the seventh when Vea had to go deep into the right-center gap to rob Aiea's Brennen Panis of a leadoff double. The ball fell out of Vea's left-handed glove on the play, but he was able to pull it in with his right hand to the relief of the Nanakuli fans in attendance.

“They all bought into the no-fly zone in the outfield,” Kapaku Sr. said. “As you can see, hardly any ball touches the ground out there and we just play defense.”

Kapaku Jr. was appreciative of his team’s support in preserving the shutout.

“You just got to love my boys. They always got my back behind me,” he said. “I love how they’re always on their toes and they make sure they’re ready.”

The lone run of the game came in the third inning after Alapai recorded his second hit of the day. He reached second on the play after an error by Aiea’s first baseman and later advanced to third after Kapaku Jr. recorded a single. Catcher Damian Griffin, who earned All-OIA D2 Player of the Year honors a season ago, then flied out to left field to score Alapai for the game-winning run.

“That score was really big for us because at least we had some comfort,” Kapaku Jr. said.

Outside of the lone run given up, Yoshida did his best to give Na Alii a chance the rest of the way as he pitched the entire game of Aiea, allowing seven hits and striking out five while walking two. He had a strikeout to strand two runners in the bottom of the first and recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the third inning.

Panis, Cody Kamihara and Zion Ishikawa each had a base hit to lead Aiea’s bats in the loss.

Reach Michael Lasquero at [email protected].

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