Top Seed Waiakea Rallies to Advance to Championship
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by Josh Pacheco
The Waiakea Warriors aren’t used to playing from behind very often. They were faced with that challenge Friday against the Kea’au Cougars, and fought back from a two-run deficit to defeat the Cougars 4-2 in the semifinals of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I tournament.
The Warriors were rolling early behind starting pitcher Reyn Kihara, who had faced the minimum and had not allowed a hit going into the fourth inning. Kea’au shortstop reached base to start the fourth on an infield single, then got to third when Kihara tried to pick him off at first base. Adrian Huff singled him home on a base hit to right field to give Kea’au the 1-0 lead.
The Cougars tried to get creative after taking the lead. Rason Martines dropped a sacrifice bunt down, but made it to first on a fielding error by Kean Wong. Maleko Remlinger then followed with a sacrifice bunt of his own, with both Huff and Martines running on the play. Remlinger was thrown out at first base, and Huff continued around third base trying to score, but was gunned down there for the double play. Cody Silva brought Martines home on a single to center field to give the Cougars a 2-0 advantage.
Waiakea’s two most reliable bats came through in the clutch in the bottom of the fifth against Remlinger. Quintin Torres-Costa laced a triple deep to left field with one out in the inning as the rain started to fall at Wong Stadium. The next batter, Kean Wong, did one better, drilling the Remlinger offering out of the park to right field, tying the game at 2-2.
The Warriors threatened again in the sixth. Kihara singled to right to start the inning, and Robbey Meguro reached on an infield hit, chasing Remlinger from the game. Huff replaced Remlinger, and fielded a bunt by Kylen Uyeda. Huff turned to third to get the lead runner out, but his third baseman did not get his foot on the base in time, leading to an infield hit to load the bases.
Dean Hosaka followed with a ground ball to second base. Instead of turning home to get the go-ahead run, Cody Silva instead tagged Uyeda out between first and second base, and threw to first to record the double play, allowing Kihara to score. Waiakea scored one more with an insurance run on a Huff wild pitch, scoring Meguro, making the score 4-2 Waiakea.
Kihara settled down in the seventh. After allowing a one-out single to Keha Wong, he got Rylan Martines to line out to shallow right field, then struck out Konnor Kanetani to end the game.
Kihara was solid for the Warriors. In his complete game win, he allowed two runs, one of them earned, on four hits, all in only 93 pitches. He also picked up a single at the plate, drew a walk, and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh.
Remlinger looked good for the Cougars, but ran into two tough innings late in the game. He allowed four runs, all of them earned, on six hits, with three walks and one hit by pitch in five innings of work. Huff finished the sixth, allowing two hits.
Kea’au 000 200 0 – 2 4 0
Waiakea 000 022 x – 4 8 3
Vikings TKO Kealakehe to Set Championship Game
The Hilo Vikings scored early and often to rout Kealakehe 11-0 in a game that ended after five innings because of the league’s ten-run mercy rule.
Hilo got started with three runs in the first inning off of surprise Kealakehe starter Austin Galigo. Chayce Kaaua picked up a single with one out in the inning. After stealing second base, Koa Matson brought him home with a single into right-center field to give Hilo a 1-0 lead. After a Jodd Carter single to put runners at the corners, Hilo successfully ran a double steal. Carter broke for second, and Kealakehe catcher Bulla Pabre threw through to second base, giving Matson’s courtest runner, Isaiah Banasan, his notice to run home and score. Later in the inning, Tyler Higa dropped down a bunt to the third base side of the infield, scoring Carter from third to five the Vikings a 3-0 advantage.
To put the first inning in perspective, the Vikings got five consecutive men to reach base with two out, with the first four reaching on singles. Hilo stole five bases in that inning, too, including Bansan’s theft of second and home.
Kealakehe went to ace Teaotai Buehler to pitch the second inning, hoping that he could keep the deficit at three. Instead, the Vikings erupted for six more runs in the second inning. Randall Iha led off with a walk and scored two batters later on a Keenan Nishioka single. After Koa Matson screamed a single up the third base line, Buehler threw a wild pitch that Pabre could not find for at least five seconds. Nishioka scored from second, and Matson advanced to third. Jodd Carter then popped up to shallow center field, where Waverider shortstop John Alokoa dropped the ball, allowing Matson to score, making the score 6-0.
Three batters later in the inning, Eli Cruz hit a two-run single to score Carter and Higa, and Cody Kaniho followed with an infield single to score Cruz, making it 9-0 in favor of the Vikings.
Hilo got another run in the third, when Keenan Nishioka drove in Chayce Kaaua, who reached on an error by Alokoa. The Vikings got one more in the fifth on a Jodd Carter RBI single, scoring pinch runner Pat Tsue to give Hilo an 11-0 advantage.
All of this took place while Hilo starter Kian Kurokawa cruised through in his outing. Kurokawa threw only 47 pitches in his five innings of work, allowing only two hits in the game with two strikeouts. He had faced the minimum until the fifth inning, when he allowed a two out single to Alokoa, then watched Zaynen Sanchez reach on a throwing error by Eli Cruz.
Koa Matson and Jodd Carter each went 3-for-4 for Hilo with an RBI. Nishioka drove in two while getting two hits in four at-bat’s. Bricen Ferreira and Alokoa picked up the two hits for the Waveriders.
Hilo 361 01 – 11 12 1
Kealakehe 000 00 – 0 2 5
Kalili Pushed Warriors to Division II Championship
Gideon Kalili’s only hit of the game proved to be the biggest. His RBI single to shallow center field scored Keanu Dudoit-Isa, giving Kamehameha-Hawaii a 2-1 win over Honoka’a in eight innings.
Kalili scored Dudoit-Isa in the first inning when he reached on an error, getting the scoring started for the Warriors. Haku Daniels drove in a Honoka’a run in the top half of the second inning, tying the game.
From that point on, it was a pitcher’s duel . Kaimana Moike picked up the win, striking out nine in his complete game effort, walking two and allowing only the second inning run on eight hits. Meanwhile, Dylan Shiraki may have pitched the better game, allowing only four hits on five strikeouts, also going the distance.
Honoka’a 010 000 00 – 1 8 3
Kamehameha-Hawaii 100 000 01 – 2 4 1
Konawaena Edges Hawaii Prep 1-0
Konawaena’s Ryan Torres-Torioka saved his best pitching performance for one of the most important games of the season. Torres-Torioka faced the minimum through six innings, and allowed only two hits in a 1-0 shutout of Hawaii Prep.
The win clinched a berth for the Wildcats in the Wally Yonamine Foundation / Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II Baseball Tournament, beginning May 9 at Hans L’Orange Park.
Torres-Torioka struck out three in his complete game shutout. The offensive help came from Makana Canda, whose RBI single with one out in the fourth inning scored the only run of the game.
Hawaii Prep 000 000 0 – 0 2 2
Konawaena 000 100 x – 1 5 0
Tournament schedule – Saturday, April 28
Division II championship: W1 Konawaena vs. E1 Kamehameha-Hawaii – 3:00 p.m.
Division I championship: E2 Hilo vs. E1 Waiakea – 5:30 p.m.