Konawaena Clinches West’s Top Seed in Road Victory
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by Josh Pacheco
Every game played between Konawaena and Honoka’a this season has been decided by one run. Tuesday’s game was no different, as Konawaena defeated the Dragons 9-8 at Honoka’a Park. The only difference was that this game had more meaning for the Wildcats, with the win clinching the top West Hawaii seed in the upcoming Division II tournament.
Konawaena (9-0) had to play from behind, spotting the Dragons a run in the bottom half of the first inning when Lloyd Edwards drove in a run on a fielder’s choice. The lone run that scored felt like a minor miracle, as Konawaena starter Jarrett Kitaoka struggled mightily with his control, walking leadoff hitter Damien Kalohimoku on four pitches and Ikena Juan on a full count. After a fly out, he allowed a single to left field by Makani Dias. After the Edwards RBI, Kitaoka got Austin Jardine to fly out in foul territory to end the inning.
The Wildcats exploded on Honoka’a starter Edwards (1-2) in the second inning, knocking home eight runs in the frame, all with two out. The scoring started with a Royce Torres-Torioka single to right field. His brother, Ryan, would follow with an RBI base hit of his own to the same spot. After a walk loaded the bases, Kileona Manzano drew his own free pass to drive in a run. Then, Ryan Torres-Torioka scored when Edwards threw a wild pitch to the backstop. Catcher Austin Jardine grabbed the ball and kept Ryan Torres-Torioka from coming home, but he decided to throw the ball to Edwards covering home plate. The ball bounced by Edwards, bringing Torres-Torikoa in. Kitaoka then helped his own cause with an infield single that brought in a run.
Domonic Morris then stepped up. He started the inning with a single, but was caught trying to steal second for the first out in the inning. He made up for that mistake by drilling a two-run double to left-center field, chasing Edwards out of the game. The Honoka’a right-hander lasted only an inning and two thirds, allowing eight runs on five hits, walking four while throwing a wild pitch, hitting a batter, and getting called for a balk.
Dylan Shiraki, pitching on three days rest, came over from right field to pitch, and immediately gave up a single to Evyn Yamaguchi that scored Morris. After a Vinny Chang punchout, the inning had finally ended. Twelve men had hit in the inning, with nine of them reaching base consecutively with two out in the frame.
The play of the game happened in the bottom of the third, when Kalohimoku scorched a line drive to deep left-center field. Wildcat left-fielder Kileona Manzano raced back to his left near the fence, sprawled out, and made a fantastic diving catch to rob the Honoka’a shortstop of a hit. The play proved costly, as Manzano stayed down on the field for several minutes while a trainer attended to him. He would leave the game with an apparent injury
The Dragons’ offense would crank back into gear to trim the Konawaena deficit. In the third, Joey Charbonneau hit a two-run home run over the short fence in center field to cut the Honoka’a deficit to five. Ikena Juan, who came home on the drive, reached base on a fielding error by second baseman Royce Torres-Torioka.
Then, in the fourth, Kitaoka walked Kazu Tolentino to leadoff the inning. Haku Daniels reached on a dropped fly ball by left fielder Shelton Grace, and three batters later, Ikena Juan brought them both home on a single to right field, cutting Kona’s lead to two at 8-6. Kitaoka’s day would end there, pitching three and a third innings, allowing six runs on three hits, walking four, hitting a batter, and throwing two wild pitches.
Konawaena added a much needed insurance run in the sixth inning, when Ryan Torres-Torioka took the first pitch from Shiraki and belted it over the left-center field fence, giving the Wildcats a 9-6 lead. Honoka’a answered right back in the bottom of the frame when Shiraki scored on a wild pitch to bring the lead back down to two.
Honoka’a (6-4) had one more chance in the bottom of the seventh inning, and got back within a run when Dylan Shiraki hit a sacrifice fly RBI to score Jardine. With the tying run at first base, Juan hit a fly ball to right-center field. Domonic Morris raced in from his center-field position, stumbled and fell to the grass as the ball landed and stayed in his glove, sealing the victory.
Royce Torres-Torioka (1-0) went three and two-thirds innings to pick up his first decision of the year. He was responsible for two of the eight runs coming home, allowing only two hits and picking up a strikeout. He walked one, hit a batter, and threw a wild pitch in his relief appearance.
Shiraki pitch five and a third innings of relief allowing a run on six hits, walking one and striking out five. He threw 97 pitches on only three days rest, as he was asked to pitch a lot longer than what Head Coach Matt Charbonneau wanted to ask of his ace left-hander.
Morris had a tremendous day at the plate for Konawaena, going 3-for-4 with a pair of singles and runs batted in. Ryan Torres-Torioka went 2-for-4 with an RBI single and a solo homer, and Kitaoka had three singles in four at bats with an RBI.
Charbonneau had three RBI’s for Honoka’a, going 1-for-2 at the plate, while Shiraki had a single in three at-bat’s, driving in a run on a seventh inning sacrifice fly. Ikena Juan went 1-for-3 with two RBI’s.
Konawaena 080 001 0 – 9 11 4
Honoka’a 102 301 1 – 8 5 3
Torres-Costa Fires Five-Inning No-Hitter in Waiakea Victory
Waiakea’s Quintin Torres-Costa was nearly perfect on Wednesday, throwing a no-hitter against the Kea’au Cougars in his team’s 10-0 win over Kea’au. The game was called after five innings because of the league’s 10-run mercy rule.
Torres-Costa’s only blemish was a walk to Jonathan Segovia. The lefty struck out ten Cougars, and helped his own cause at the plate by getting a pair of hits and scoring a run. Korin Medeiros, Davy Camacho, and Reyn Kihara each had an RBI for the Warriors.
Kea’au 000 00 – 0 0 9
Waiakea 340 3x – 10 7 0