Nishiura, Komatsu Drive In Two As Waiakea Outlasts Kea`au
“Waiakea has a bunch of baseball players. We have a bunch of good kids that happen to play baseball.”
That’s how longtime Kea`au Head Coach Herb Yasuhara described the difference between his Cougars and the defending state champion Warriors. On Wednesday, experience and timely plays made the difference in Waiakea’s 8-4 victory at Kea`au High School.
Waiakea (9-2 BIIF overall, 6-1 BIIF) opened the game with a pair of runs against Kea`au starter Maleko Remlinger. After Trevor Shimokusu led the game off with a double, Alika Guillermo followed with a single to put runners at the corners. On the next pitch to Kean Wong, Remlinger’s fastball bounced off of the glove of catcher Rason Martines, bringing Shimokusu home to put Waiakea up 1-0. Two batters later and the bases loaded, Andy Filoteo grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, scoring Guillermo to add to the lead.
For some teams, a rough start like that is difficult to come back from, but Kea`au managed to put together the better inning. Keian Kanetani led off the inning with a walk, and two batters later, Remlinger reached on a fielding error by Waiakea third baseman Taylor Mondina. That set up an opportunity for a delayed double-steal with runners at the corners, which worked. Remlinger was tagged out between first and second, and Kanetani scored from third base to put Kea`au on the scoreboard.
Cody Silva singled later in the at-bat that scored Kanetani and was driven home by a Martines double to deep left-center field, tying the game. Martines scored to give Kea`au the lead on an RBI double from Keha Wong, giving the Cougars a 3-2 lead after an inning.
That score held up until the fourth inning, when Remlinger’s command started to get away fronm him. Filoteo led the frame off with a single and later moved to second on a bad pickoff throw by Remlinger. Two batters later, Nishiura singled home Filoteo to even the score at three.
Remlinger walked Kean Wong to start the fifth and allowed a single to Kodi Medeiros on the very next pitch. After a wild pitch advanced both runners into scoring position, Filoteo sent a line drive into center field, scoring Wong on a sacrifice fly to put the Warriors on top 4-3. Wong finished 0-for-1 with a pair of walks and two runs scored in front of at least eight scouts in attendance.
Next at the plate was freshman Caleb Freitas-Fields, who drilled a double to deep right-center field over the glove of Na`alii Kanakaole-Wong, scoring Medeiros to extend the lead to 5-3.
The Cougars struggled in the middle innings against Waiakea starter Chase Komatsu, who, after the three-run first inning and a single in the second, had retired 11 consecutive batters, including three straight strikeouts in the fourth inning. That streak ended in the sixth with a five pitch walk to Silva. Two batters later, Wong drove Silva in with an single to right field. Right Fielder Filoteo’s throw came home to try to get Silva coming home, which drove Wong to try to move over to second base. Kean Wong quickly picked up the baseball and threw it over to shortstop Guillermo, who tagged out the hitter to end the inning.
Remlinger’s struggles continued in the seventh inning. After hitting Kean Wong with a pitch that bouncced in the dirt, it appeared he would get a key double play off of the bat of Kodi Medeiros. Shortstop Keha Wong bobbled his backhand attempt and then sailed his throw to first high of first baseman Byron Cachola. Wong was charged with two errors on the play.
Three batters later, with runners in scoring position, Nishiura walked on four pitches, scoring Wong to make the score 6-4. Next up was Komatsu, who helped his own cause with a two-run single to score Medeiros and Freitas-Fields, who reached on an intentional walk. With the score 8-4, Remlinger’s day was over. Kanetani got the last two outs to end the inning.
Remlinger, who dropped to 2-3 on the season, allowed eight runs, seven of them earned, on eight hits with six walks, three hit batters, a wild pitch, and a strikeout.
Komatsu, who threw 101 pitches in the game, allowed a hit to Justin Quesada in the last inning before closing out the game with a fly ball out from Kanetani. Komatsu improved to 1-0 with a complete game six-hitter, allowing four runs with six strikeouts and two walks. He also went 1-for-3 at the plate with two runs batted in.
Everyone in the lineup for Waiakea had a hit except for Kean Wong, who was celebrating his 18th birthday on the baseball diamond in front of his dad, Kaha, and at least eight pro scouts representing teams like the San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals.
Keha Wong batted 2-for-3 for Kea`au, who fell to 3-7 in Big Island Interscholastic Federation competition and 2-4 in games that count toward tournament seeding. He drove in two more runs, improving his number to seven, which is a team high.
Waiakea 200 120 3 – 8 8 1
Kea`au 300 001 0 – 4 6 4
BIIF baseball scoreboard
Kealakehe 9, Hawai`i Preparatory Academy 7
Konawaena 14, Honoka`a 4