Hilo Converts Opportunities to Defeat KS-Hawai`i
Often times, close games between closely matched teams can come down to the “little things.”
In Tuesday’s baseball tilt between Kamehameha-Hawai`i and Hilo High School, wild pitches, errors, and runners left on base made all the difference as the Vikings pulled out a 2-0 win under the lights at Wong Stadium.
Hilo (2-1 BIIF overall, 0-1 BIIF seeding) scored each of their runs in the third and fourth innings with a little bit of help from the Warriors. In the third, right fielder Isaiah Banasan reached on an infield single to start the frame. Pitcher Chay Toson tried to pick him off of first base, but threw wide, allowing the runner to advance to third base. Two batters later, Tyler Higa’s towering fly ball to right field sacrificed Banasan home to put Hilo up 1-0.
In the next inning, Vikings left fielder Jodd Carter opened the inning with a lead off hit to left field. He was nearly picked off of second base, but the throw by catcher Makoa Rosario was mishandled by shortstop Kupono Decker, allowing Carter to sneak into second base. Carter would advance to third on a wild pitch and score on another one with Eli Cruz at the plate to make the score 2-0.
Despite being held off of the scoreboard, the Warriors had their opportunities against Hilo pitching. In the second and third innings, the Warriors collected a pair of two-out hits, but failed to bring a run in. In the fifth inning, Toson singled with one out and, while trying to steal second base, was also able to get to third thanks to Austin Menke’s throwing error from behind the plate. With two out, however, Bronson Pulgados flied out to center field to end the inning.
In the sixth, the Warriors got the first two hitters on base with a single from Micah Carter and a walk to Rosario, chasing Hilo starter Kian Kurokawa from the game. Jordan Tagawa entered and retired Jordan Hirae on a line drive out to shortstop Higa in what normally would have been a sacrifice bunt situation. Tagawa retired Decker and Chun to end the inning.
Conrad Kauffman entered the game for Hilo in the seventh inning and immediately walked designated hitter Daylen Calicdan to put the tying run at the plate. After retiring the next two hitters, Pulgados stepped up an drove a ball into the right-center field gap, just out of the reach of center fielder Drew Kell, who dove to his left and nearly made a spectacular play.
Hilo coach Tony DeSa went back to his bullpen and called on Kody Kaniho to face Carter with two runners in scoring position. Kaniho threw threw strikes, including a curveball to strikeout the right-handed cleanup hitter, to end the game.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i (1-1 BIIF, 1-0 BIIF seeding) out-hit the Vikings eight to four, but stranded 10 runners on base in the loss. Bronson Pulgados went 2-for-4 with a double and Makoa Rosario hit 1-for-2 with a walk.
Toson (1-1) picked up the loss. He allowed two runs on three hits with four strikeouts and two wild pitches over six innings. Hirae relieved him in the seventh and allowed a hit and walk to go with a strikeout.
Kurokawa picked up the win, allowing seven hits in five shutout innings with a walk and four strikeouts. Tagawa finished out the sixth inning and retired all three batters he faced. Kauffman faced four batters and picked up two outs while allowing a walk and a hit, and Kaniho got the save in only three pitches.
Carter, in his first game in the field this season, went 2-for-2 at the plate with a run scored. He was also intentionally walked in the sixth. The junior left fielder was cleared to go at full strength after recovering from an injury suffered during basketball season.
Higa went 1-for-2 at the plate with a sixth inning double and a sacrifice fly RBI.
Both teams travel for 1:00 p.m. games on Saturday. The Vikings visit the Honoka`a Dragons while Kamehameha-Hawai`i faces Kealakehe.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i 000 000 0 – 0 8 2
Hilo 001 100 x – 2 4 1
This year’s baseball format allows every team to face each other during the season. It also brings a little bit of confusion when explaining which games will count toward league tournament seeding.
Teams in the same region, East or West, will play their fellow regional teams home-and-home during the season. The second game of that series will count toward the tournament seeding. Every team will play a team from the opposite region only once, and that game counts toward seeding.
Tuesday’s game did not count toward seeding, since both teams faced each other in the regular season for the first time. The game between the two teams on Tuesday, April 9 will count toward tournament placement.
Teams in the East region are Hilo, Waiakea, Kamehameha-Hawai`i, Pahoa, and Kea`au.
West region teams include Honoka`a, Hawai`i Preparatory Academy, Konawaena, Kealakehe, and Kohala.
Waiakea 10, Pahoa 0 (5 innings)
Hawai`i Prep 12, Honoka`a 1 (5 innings)
Kealakehe 6, Kohala 1