Botched Rundown Fuels Walk-Off Waiakea Victory
· No Comments · Sports
by Josh Pacheco
Nothing seemed ordinary about the second installment of the baseball rivalry between the Hilo Vikings and Waiakea Warriors. For starters, Wong Stadium played host to Waiakea, who moved their home game to draw increased attendance and generate revenue. The venue is normally home to Hilo, who still wore their white uniforms, even though they were the visitors. The game was also played under the lights, starting at 6:00 p.m. when most weekday games begin three hours earlier.
The finish was especially wild, as Kean Wong scored on a poorly executed rundown on the basepaths in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Warriors a 3-2 win over their cross-town rivals, allowing Waiakea to stay unbeaten in league play.
Wong reached base to start the inning on a shallow single to right field, and advanced to second when Korin Medeiros reached on a walk. The next batter, Kodi Medeiros, took the first pitch, and his brother, Korin took off for second, but Wong didn’t break for third. Hilo catcher Koa Matson saw Wong hung up, and ran right at him to try to apply the tag. Wong broke toward third, and Matson threw in that direction, which prompted a back-and-forth between the bases, until third baseman Eli Cruz dropped the ball near third base, allowing the runner to slide in safely. Wong then got up and realized that no one was covering home plate after Matson was on the back end of the diamond, so he broke home and scored to win the game.
Hilo (7-3) opened the game by scoring a run in the top half of the first inning, when Randall Iha scored on a ground ball out by Chayce Kaaua. The run was aided by a fielding error by Waiakea first baseman Tyler Ishimoto, allowing Iha to get in a position to score on the next at-bat.
Waiakea (10-0) got some help from Hilo’s defense in the third inning. After Robby Meguro reached base on a walk, Alika Guillermo hit a ground ball to Cruz, who missed his target on a throw to second base that allowed Meguro to reach third base. The next hitter, Quintin Torres-Costa, pulled a single through the right side of the infield to bring Meguro home, tying the game at one.
Hilo’s defense helped Waiakea take the lead in the fourth inning. Reyn Kihara reached on a four pitch walk, then during the next at-bat, he got himself caught in a rundown between first and second base. He appeared to be out, but at the end of the play second baseman Micah Kaaukai dropped the ball on the tag attempt, allowing Kihara to get back to first base.
Nick Fukunaga was pulled with two out in the inning and a 1-0 count to Kean Wong, and was replaced by Jordan Tagawa. Tagawa’s first pitch sailed wide of catcher Matson, allowing Kihara to score from third base and give Waiakea a 2-1 lead.
In the sixth, Chayce Kaaua led off the visitor’s half of the frame with a single up the middle, then stole second base. After moving up on a Jodd Carter bunt single, Waiakea attempted a pitch out to keep both runners honest, but the ball got by catcher Kean Wong and to the backstop, scoring Kaaua to even the game, before Waiakea took it in the final inning.
Lost in the madness was a solid effort from Waiakea starter Kodi Medeiros (2-0), who went the distance in his second start of the season. Medeiros struck out 11 Vikings over seven innings, while allowing two earned runs and three hits. He also walked four batters.
Nick Fukunaga took the no-decision after throwing four and a third innings, allowing two runs on three hits, walking three and striking out four, with one wild pitch. Jordan Tagawa (1-1) pitched an inning and two-thirds and took the loss, getting charged for the go-ahead run, while throwing the wild-pitch that scored Waiakea’s second run. He allowed a hit with two walks and two strikeouts. Jodd Carter came in and threw a pitch to Korin Medeiros in the seventh before intentionally walking him, then threw one more pitch before the wild rundown.
Torres-Costa, Wong, Kihara, and Robby Meguro each picked up a hit for the Warriors, with Torres-Costa getting credit for the only run batted in for the team. Hilo got a hit each from Randall Iha, Kaaua, and Carter. Kaaua picked up the only Viking RBI.
Hilo 100 001 0 – 2 3 1
Waiakea 001 100 1 – 3 4 2
Kamehameha-Hawaii, Ka’u Washed Out
Heavy morning rain and poor field conditions washed out the league game at Kamehameha-Hawaii between the Warriors and the Ka’u Trojans. KS-Hawaii Athletic Director Bob Wagner announced that the game will be made up on Monday at 3:00 p.m.