Wapahani’s baseball team started its season slowly at the plate. It didn’t generate a hit in the first three innings Saturday against Central at home, and at one point five consecutive Raider batters struck out.
But the hosts were able to get a run and tie the game in the fourth inning, and the Raiders were then able to break through offensively in the sixth. Wapahani beat Central 5-1 in the season opener for both teams.
“Your first game, everybody’s excited, everybody’s anxious,” Wapahani coach Brian Dudley said. “It’s a thing where you’ve got to kind of be patient and hope it comes around.”
Hayden Woodard broke up Central pitcher Jordan Poore’s no-hitter with a double to lead off the fourth inning. Woodard later came around to score and tie the game. He reached base all three times he came to the plate, also drawing two walks.
Woodard said he had hoped to get his team’s first hit to spark the Raiders offensively.
“The first at-bat I didn’t see anything, four outside balls,” Woodard said. “So, second at-bat, first one I saw, it was a pitch on the outside, took it that way, got a double off of it.”
The Raiders went into the bottom of the sixth inning with the game tied at 1, and Luke Snider led off the inning with a single. Woodard then drew a walk, and Austin White then had an RBI single to give his team the lead. Casey Jones later had a two-RBI single to break the game open, and Collin Hoots drove in the final run with a triple.
White pitched the first six innings for the Raiders, allowing one run. Central produced its only run in the first inning before White settled down and pitched five more scoreless innings. He forced the Bearcats to strand a total of seven runners in the first six innings.
“He did a great job, did everything we asked for him, just came in, threw strikes,” Dudley said. “And our defense will make plays. I thought one of the key plays of the game was we turned a double play with the bases loaded and one out (in the fifth inning.) Like we do in practice every day.”
Both teams have had limited chances to practice outside because of the cold weather in early spring, and the game was moved to Wapahani because of field conditions. Despite the loss, Central coach Rob Fisher thought his team started the season well.
Caleb Pine led the Bearcats offensively with three hits. Poore, Sam Cavanaugh and Demetrius Hurt each reached base twice.
“I was very pleased, I didn’t know what to expect,” Fisher said. “We’ve only been able to do our pregame a couple of times in the gym. So I didn’t even know how the pregame was going to go. But all of that considered, I was very pleased with how we played. I thought, other than there at the end, we made all the plays that needed to be made. We executed some bunts, the whole bit. So I have to be pleased with that.”