Medeiros Powers Waiakea to D1 Regular Season Baseball Title
Kodi Medeiros’ high school resume includes a state championship and a piece of a no-hitter in a state championship game.
Now that he’s the healthiest he has been all year, Medeiros’ play will be vital to the Waiakea Warriors’ chances of repeating as state champions in Division I.
The junior clubbed a two-run home run and struck out nine batters in relief as Waiakea defeated Kamehameha-Hawai`i 6-5 Monday night at Wong Stadium. The win clinched the Big Island Interscholastic Federation regular season championship in Division I and earned the Warriors a spot in the Wally Yonamine Foundation / Hawai`i High School Athletic Association state baseball tournament, held in Maui.
Medeiros’ impact was in the game’s first inning when he clubbed a two-run home run over the left field fence to give his team a 2-0 lead.
That lead didn’t last for long as freshman starter Caleb Freitas-Fields allowed three runs in the bottom half of the frame. Chad Teshima scored on a wild pitch, Chay Toson scored on a sacrifice fly RBI from Jordan Hirae, and Micah Carter brought home Bronson Pulgados with a one-out base knock, giving Kamehameha-Hawai`i a 3-2 lead after the opening frame.
Senior right-hander Kupono Decker struggled on the bump for Kamehameha-Hawai`i. He gave up the lead in the second inning with a pair of two-out hits. Alika Guillermo’s single scored Aaron Nishiura to tie the game, and Kean Wong followed with a two-run double to left-center field to score Chase Komatsu and Taylor Mondina, giving Waiakea a 5-3 lead.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i (8-4 overall, 6-2 BIIF) answered right back in the bottom of the second. Four consecutive men reached base with one out, with Bronson Pulgados scoring Teshima on an error by Waiakea first baseman Nishiura. Hirae followed with an RBI single to drive home Toson, tying the game at five.
Decker found himself in trouble again in the fourth inning, walking Wong and Ryder Oshiro with one out in the inning before being pulled from the game. In his final home start, Decker pitched three and a third innings, allowing six runs, five hits, five walks, four strikeouts, two wild pitches, and two hit batters. He took the loss to fall to 4-1.
Reliever Jordan Hirae entered the game and induced a ground ball to Decker, who moved to shortstop. His only play in front of second base was to step on the base himself, but Wong, who was running on the pitch from second base, raced around third and scored in front of Decker’s throw, giving Waiakea a 6-5 lead.
With Freitas-Fields continuing to struggle, Medeiros’ name was called to take the mound. He had only thrown four pitches all season due to arm trouble, but entered the game in the fourth inning with a man on and one out. He struck out Hirae to get the second out, and two batters later, struck out Carter to end the inning.
While he dominated the opponents’ bats, he at times was his own worst enemy. After allowing a shallow single to Decker in the fifth, Matt Chun dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Decker over. Medeiros’ throw sailed over the head of his first baseman, allowing Chun to reach base. Two batters later, he hit Teshima with an inside fastball to load the bases, but got out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts to Toson and Pulgados.
Medeiros, a left-handed flamethrower, was at his best in the seventh inning, striking out the side to shut the door on Kamehameha-Hawai`i. In three and two-thirds innings pitched, he struck out nine batters and allowed just two hits, despite hitting three batters. He backed up Freitas-Fields, who picked up the win despite pitching three and two-thirds innings of wild baseball.
Medeiros was also 2-for-2 at the plate with his fourth home run of the season, a single, and an intentional walk to to with two runs batted in. He leads the team in home runs and RBI’s (28).
In the loss, Toson went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and two strikeouts. Micah Carter had the same line to go along with a run batted in. The private school Warriors struck out 15 times in their senior night.
Waiakea (10-2 overall, 7-1 BIIF) can thank the Kea`au Cougars for putting them in a clinching situation. Kea`au’s 4-1 victory over Hilo opened up the door for Waiakea to take the regular season title outright with a win. The second state tournament berth will be decided during the league tournament next week.
Waiakea 230 100 0 – 6 6 3
Kamehameha-Hawai`i 320 000 0 – 5 8 0
Monday’s BIIF scoreboard
Kea`au 4, Hilo 1