Kamehameha-Hawai`i Earns State Tourney Berth With Win Over Kohala
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by Josh Pacheco
It wasn’t as easy as the 10 run win earlier in the season, but the regular season champion Kamehameha-Hawai`i Warriors did enough to get past the scrappy Kohala Cowboys 7-2 in the semifinals of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II tournament, clinching a spot in next week’s Wally Yonamine Foundation / Hawai`i High School Athletic Association State Tournament.
It appeared that the Warriors would be able to cruise to victory after taking a 4-0 lead through three innings. Kohala starter Ricky Ching, working off of only two days rest, struggled early with three first inning walks. He surrendered two runs when Makoa Rosario drove a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Chad Teshima. Center fielder Jeremiah Kanehailua’s throw back to the infield was offline, allowing Bronson Pulgados to cross home plate to make the score 2-0.
Another walk by Ching, this time to Kupono Decker, would be costly as well, as Chad Teshima’s two-out single in the second inning brought Decker around to extend the lead to 3-0.
In the third inning, Ching allowed another leadoff hitter to reach base as Jordan Hirae’s single got the frame started. After a balk moved him over to second base, Rosario brought him in with an RBI single to left field to push KS-Hawai`i ahead to a 4-0 advantage.
While Kamehameha-Hawai`i was rolling on offense, Alika Young was cruising on the mound. The junior right hander was perfect through the first three innings, needing only 24 pitches to breeze through the Kohala batting order.
Things changed in the fourth when he walked Chance Pang with one out in the inning. After a wild pitch moved Pang to second base, Willy Perez drilled an RBI double down the left field line to bring him in, cutting the Warriors’ lead to 4-1.
Kohala would put even more pressure on Young in the fifth. Troy Castillo was hit by a pitch to reach base with one out in the inning. Dalyn Kupukaa doubled to left-center field to put both men in scoring position for Haruto Fuertes, who hit a sacrifice fly to score Castillo, narrowing KSH’s lead to 4-2.
The Warriors put the game out of Kohala’s reach in the bottom of the sixth inning by pushing three runs across to extend their lead to 7-2. Jordan Hirae, who picked up the save in two innings of relief work, singled home Teshima, and two batters later, a throwing error by Kohala’s Pang from Kobi Candaroma’s ground ball scored two more runs.
Young improved to 3-0 with the victory. He pitched five innings, allowing two runs on two hits with a strikeout, a walk, and a hit batter. Hirae pitched two innings of no-hit baseball to pick up his first save of the season. He walked one and struck out three in 29 pitches.
Teshima batted 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Hirae added two more hits in two at bats with a pair of walks, two runs scored, and an RBI. Rosario drove in two runs.
Ching dropped to 1-1 in Kohala’s final game of the season. He allowed seven runs, five of them earned, on seven hits over six innings. He walked six batters and struck out two in 98 pitches.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i and Konawaena will meet at 3:00 p.m. Saturday at Wong Stadium in the league’s Division II championship game. The winner will get a seeded spot in the state baseball tournament.
Saturday’s game can be heard on ESPN Radio and ESPNHawaii.com
Kohala 000 110 0 – 2 2 3
Kamehameha-Hawai`i 211 003 x – 7 7 0