By Fred Guzman
It took 15 innings, but when it was all over – well past 11 o’clock — Na Koa Ikaika won their second game in as many home starts by posting a 4-3 marathon victory over the weary Tijuana Cimarrones.
Keoni Ruth delivered a bases-loaded infield hit to end the lengthy proceedings at Iron Maehara Stadium. The two teams take a well-earned day off tonight before resuming their six-game series with single games on Friday and Saturday followed by a double-header on Sunday.
The win improved Na Koa’s record to 7-7 in the Golden Baseball League while Tijuana plunged to 2-15. Yesterday’s victory came on the heels of a 9-3 triumph over Tijuana in Tuesday’s home debut for Na Koa in a game that attracted an estimated 2,000 fans to Maehara Stadium.
On the major-league front, catcher Kurt Suzuki of Maui cooled off for Oakland in a 7-1 loss to the Angels. The night before, Suzuki collected four hits – including a homer – and drove in four runs as the Athletics routed the Angels, 10-1.
Shane Victorino’s Phillies were idle yesterday. Victorino has been on a tear of late. His solo shot on Tuesday increased his season total to 10. Victorino is 8 of 20 and has scored seven runs in his team’s last five games. Kansas City reliever Kanekoa Texeira was not called upon in the Royals’ 6-2 loss to Minnesota
KAUFMAN WINS: Hawaii’s Amber Kaufman overcame miserable weather conditions and a history of near-misses yesterday to capture the high jump gold medal in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. On a cold and windy afternoon at Eugene, Ore., Kaufman cleared 6-1 1/4 to beat out Arizona’s Elizabeth Patterson on fewer misses to take top honors in the event.
Kaufman, a senior, also earned second-team All-American honors as a member of UH’s highly successful volleyball team. She became only the second UH woman to win an NCAA title. Gwen Loud captured the long jump in 1984. UH dropped its track program the following year before coach Carmyn James restarted it in 2001.
GOOD GRADES FOR UH: For the first time in the six years since the NCAA instituted its Academic Progress Rate report, none of UH’s athletic teams are at risk of losing scholarships for classroom under-performance. All 18 teams surpassed the benchmark by which the NCAA measures academic retention, progress and graduation for athletes for the 2008-09 academic year.
In previous years UH’s football, baseball and men’s basketball teams were docked scholarships for failing to meet minimum standards or at risk. Four years ago the football team was docked five scholarships, while men’s basketball and baseball received lesser penalties.