Warriors Win With Walk-Off Ground Ball Out Over Kea’au
Kamehameha-Hawaii center fielder Chay Toson didn’t have a hit, but didn’t need one to give his Warriors a 1-0 win over Kea’au at the Kamehameha-Hawaii campus Wednesday afternoon.
Toson got to the plate with runners at the corners and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, and swung at a first pitch fastball from Kea’au starter Maleko Remlinger. The ball was hit hard to first baseman Konnor Kanetani, who instinctively turned to second base to start a double play. Kanetani hesitated and didn’t throw the ball, instead turning to first base and recording an unassisted out. As he made the decision to get the out at first base, pinch runner Pomai Racpan dashed home to score the winning, and only, run.
The ending spoiled a masterful performance by Remlinger (3-3), who allowed only three hits all afternoon, striking out one, walking two, and hitting two batters. Remlinger set down eight hitters in a row until the seventh inning, when Kupono Correa was hit with the first pitch of the inning. Bronson Pulgados singled two batters later, moving Correa to first, and setting up Toson’s winning at-bat.
“We were just fortunate enough to get the lead-off man on, and then we executed a bunt, and a couple of guys came through with some hits,” said Warriors’ Head Coach Andy Correa. “We were fortunate that they didn’t turn the double play, because it would’ve got us out of the inning.”
While Remlinger was great, Kaimana Moike was even better for Kamehameha-Hawaii. Moike struck out eight batters in three-and-a-third innings, only allowing a hit in the third inning. Moike left the game after coach Correa noticed him going through some arm issues. Moike was throwing on three days rest, and Correa didn’t want to take any chances before the postseason.
“He (Moike) was throwing his fastball, and then he started hitting his curveball and then he got his split-finger over,” explained Correa. “He had command of all of his pitches. It’s just that we’re going into the playoffs, so we don’t want to get him hurt.”
Kupono Correa finished the fourth inning, allowing a hit. Kupono Decker (4-0) pitched the final three innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out two Cougars.
While Kea’au was held scoreless, it wasn’t without several chances. In the fifth inning, Keha Wong reached on a walk against Decker. Chance Harris dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Wong over to second, but Wong kept running toward third base, thinking that the ball was dropped at first base. Wong would be tagged out near third, silencing the visiting team’s chances.
In the seventh, the Cougars got two men on with one out, when Konnor Kanetani hit a one-out single through the middle of the infield. Wong followed that with a hard liner into left field. Harris struck out, and Adrian Huff grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Kamehameha-Hawaii heads to Ka’u on Friday to wrap up the regular season, while Kea’au hosts the Pahoa Daggers. Both teams will play in the BIIF tournament on Friday, when Kamehameha-Hawaii hosts either Honoka’a or Hawaii Prep in a Division II semi-final, while Kea’au will face Waiakea in the 4:00 p.m. Division I semi-final.
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