Waiakea Completes Perfect League Season With Title
Another installment of the Waiakea / Hilo rivalry comes down to missed opportunities and a couple of key at-bats.
For the second straight night, the Waiakea Warriors rallied from a deficit to win, this time for the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I championship, as Waiakea defeated Hilo 3-1 in front of over 600 fans at Wong Stadium.
Starting pitching dominated the first few innings of the game. Waiakea starter Quintin Torres-Costa allowed two hits in the first two innings, but got out of each inning with a line-out double-play in the first and a strikeout and pop up in the second. Meanwhile, opposing starter Cody Kaniho gave up a second inning single to Kodi Medeiros. But, two batters later, Reyn Kihara flew out to center fielder Tyler Higa with Medeiros standing at third. Medeiros tagged up, trying to score, but Higa fired a dart to catcher Koa Matson, who placed the tag on Medeiros to end the inning.
In the third, Kian Kurokawa reached base on a throwing error by Korin Medeiros with an out on the board. Two batters later, Chayce Kaaua singled into left field, scoring Kurokawa. Waiakea left fielder Robby Meguro fired a throw that looked destined to reach home plate, but instead hit the cut-off man, catching Kaaua too far off of first base. Kaaua was run down to end the inning, but the Vikings still struck first, taking a 1-0 lead.
Kaniho ran into trouble to start the home half of the fourth inning. He started the inning by walking Torres-Costa, then let him take second base on a wild pitch. Kean Wong was then walked by Kaniho, who then loaded the bases with by hitting Korin Medeiros with a pitch. Korin’s brother, Kodi, completed a ten-pitch at bat with a sacrifice fly that scored Torres-Costa to tie the game. Davy Camacho had an equally tough at bat, which ended with another sacrifice fly that scored Wong, giving Waiakea a 2-1 lead.
“Kodi and Davy had unreal at-bat’s. They fought tooth and nail, and fought off some very tough pitches,” said Head Coach Kevin Yee. Both guys saw a combined 18 pitches that led to the two RBI’s.
The Vikings had a chance to tie the game in the sixth. Randall Iha reached with a single to center field with one out, and moved to second on a Kaaua ground out. Keenan Nishioka followed with a sharp single to shallow center field. Iha took a wide turn around third, as it appeared that his head coach, Tony DeSa, was trying to hold him up. Iha slipped about ten feet beyond third base as the throw went home, and he was eventually tagged out to end the inning.
Waiakea got the insurance run they needed off of Kaniho in the sixth. Korin Medeiros lef off with a double to left-center to start the inning, and Kodi brought his brother home on an RBI single to right, extending the lead to 3-1.
Torres-Costa locked it down in the seventh, retiring the side to end the game. His line was dominating, allowing an unearned run on five hits, striking out six. Every out recorded while he was on the mound was recorded by an infielder. And he did all of that in only 84 pitches.
For first year coach Yee, the championship is special, but more of a testament to his players hard work. “This was definitely one of our goals that we had set, and the boys put in the hard work,” said Yee. “For the kids to see the results of all their hard work, it’s one of those life lessons that you set a goal and you work hard towards it and you can accomplish it.”
Kaniho pitched five innings, allowing three runs on four hits with four walks and three wild pitches. He also hit a batter in the fourth inning. Jordan Tagawa retired all three batters he faced in relief of Kaniho in the sixth.
Kodi Medeiros went 2-for-2 with two RBI. Torres-Costa and Korin Medeiros picked up the other two team hits. Randall Iha went 2-for-3 for the Vikings.
Hilo’s season is not over. The Vikings will host the Campbell Sabers on Wednesday at Wong Stadium for the final berth into the state tournament. The game will be played at 3:00 p.m., and can be heard on ESPNHawaii.com.
Hilo 001 000 0 – 1 5 0
Waiakea 000 201 x – 3 4 1