Waimea Goes For A Clean Sweep

Waimea’s Gaylan Matagiese slides safe into first base against Nanakuli in the state D-2 championship game, a 12-4 win. Kat Wade photos kat@katwade.com

It could be a special spring for the Menehune as they attempt to line up a rare feat. Baseball and softball are the two sports with which spring is often identified, so the fact that Waimea High School could be on the verge of a state championship in each is something special.

The Waimea Lady Menehune followed up their undefeated KIF championship season with a dominant run through the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II bracket. Entering the tournament as the top seed, Waimea began its climb with a 12-8 victory over Waipahu in the quarterfinals.

Gaylan “Ulu” Matagiese put her powerful swing on display by clobbering three home runs in the win.

WHS followed that with a 13-3 semifinal win over Kalaheo that put the Lady Menehune into the championship game. Matagiese had another homer and four RBI in the win, while Deannalyn Tafiti also launched one and came away with the victory on the mound.

That set the stage for a final against Nanakuli, which proved to be up to the challenge.

It was the toughest matchup Waimea faced, as the girls found themselves in a 3-3 tie after five innings of the seven-inning contest. But the floodgates could be held no longer, and the Menehune poured in four runs in the top of the sixth, then sealed the title with five more runs in the seventh to come away with the 12-4 victory. Krysta Kali had three hits, including a home run and five RBI in the win.

The dominance with which they won was evident in the All-Tournament selections as five of the 10 D-II spots were occupied by Waimea. Kali, Matagiese, Tafiti, Sienna Santiago and Taylor Ephan all made the cut, and Ulu was named Co-Most Outstanding Player along with Nanakuli’s Alexis Paulo-Meyers.

We also must mention the Kaua’i High School Raider Wahine, who took third place and had a pair of All-Tournament honorees in Daeja Cummings and Kyana Hirokane.

Waimea’s Kristy Pimentel slides safely into third in the Menehune’s win over Nanakuli at UH Rainbow Wahine Stadium

Now the Waimea boys have the chance to match their female classmates. Coming off a KIF championship of their own, the Menehune enter the HHSAA Div. II baseball tournament as the No. 1 seed.

By the time you pick up this edition, those results will be known as the tournament is slated to run May 9-11.

Waimea’s first test is against Waialua in the quarterfinals, with the winner taking on either Kalaheo or No. 4 Kamehameha-Big Island in the semis. No. 2 Waipahu and No. 3 Seabury Hall of Maui held the other seeds and were to take on Konawaena and Maryknoll, respectively, in the opening round.

A championship for coach Michael Rita would not be a shock, as Waimea has proven its mettle on the diamond for many years, and Rita has plenty of high-level talent up and down his lineup card.

It would be the fourth championship in five years for the KIF since the D-2 tournament came to be in 2008.

Waimea eyes its second title in three years after its thrilling 11-10 win over KamehamehaBig Island in 2010, a game in which it trailed 9-0 before a stirring comeback and deserved championship.

Any result would cap off an all-around successful season for Waimea High, but to pair up the softball and baseball trophies would certainly set off that limitless Westside pride.