Early Offensive Jolt Pushes Stars to Victory
The Hawai’i Stars tried to land the knockout punch on the Sonoma County Grapes with a four-run first inning. The Grapes fought right back into the game with an offensive punch of their own, but the Stars bullpen shut their opponents down in a 10-7 victory Friday night at Wong Stadium in front of a crowd of close to 200 people.
Sonoma County starter Matt Gibbs (1-2) got roughed up in the very first inning. After allowing two men to reach base with one out in the inning, Angel Sanchez singled to left field to score Anthony Williams, giving the Stars their first run of the game. Anthony Lopez followed that with an RBI single into center field to score Arnoldo Ponce. Two batters later, Adam Jacobs’ sacrifice fly to left scored Sanchez to make it 3-0. Steven Tedesco rounded out the scoring with a base knock to left field that scored Lopez.
The Stars (7-3) would add one more run in the second when Sanchez brought Matt Hibbert home on a single with two out in the inning, making the score 5-0 Stars.
In the fourth, Stars starter Ryan Screnar, who was occasionally wild throughout the game, got roughed up for a four-spot from the Grapes offense. With two on and one out, Brandon Gregorich singled to center field to score DJ Dixon, who reached base on a four-pitch walk. Two batters later, Samuel Perry clocked a double out to deep center field to score to score Tyler Finley, who reached on an error, and Gregorich, to get the Grapes within two. George Ban’s sacrifice fly to center field scored Joseph Lewis to cap the Grapes rally in the fourth, getting them within a run at 5-4.
As quickly as the Grapes (4-6) got back in the game, the Stars did their best to push them away immediately. The bases were immediately loaded with no one out in the bottom of the fourth inning when local product Reece Alnas scored on an Ponce sacrifice fly. Sanchez hit a sacrifice fly of his own to score Hibbert, giving the Stars a 7-4 lead after four.
Once again, the Grapes wouldn’t quit. In the top of the fifth, DJ Dixon clocked his first home run of the year out to right field. The two-run homer got Sonoma County right back within one at 7-6.
Once again, the Hawai’i Stars pushed the lead back out in the bottom of the frame, scoring three times off of reliever Matthew Johnson. The home team once again had the bases loaded with no one out in the inning, and ended up pushing across three more runs, capped by a Hibbert RBI single to left field, giving Hawai’i a 10-6 lead. The Grapes got one more run in the top of the eighth on a wild pitch, but the scoring, finally, stopped there, giving the Stars their seventh win of the season.
Ryan Screnar (1-1) went six innings for the victory, allowing six runs (four earned) on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Waiakea High School graduate Michael Kenui went the next two innings, allowing an unearned run on one hit, and local product Courtney Arruda finished out the game in the ninth inning.
Hibbert went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI’s, extending his league leading batting average to .486. Sanchez went 2-for-4 with 3 runs batted in, giving him 8 runs driven in on the year.
Sonoma County 000 420 010 – 7 7 0
Hawai’i 410 230 00x – 10 12 3