KS-Hawai`i Rolls Past Kea`au, Earns League’s Top Seed in D2
Despite all of the scenarios to determine who would finish at the top of the Division II regular season league standings, the only one that mattered to Andy Correa’s Kamehameha-Hawai`i baseball team was the one they could control.
All the Warriors needed was a win to lock up the the regular season championship and the top seed in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II baseball tournament beginning next Tuesday.
The Warriors got that victory, taking advantage of seven Kea`au errors and solid pitching by Alika Young to defeat the Cougars 11-2 on senior day at Kea`au High School.
Everything else, including whether the regular season championship will also come with a state tournament berth, is out of their hands.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i (9-4 BIIF overall, 7-2 BIIF seeding) jumped on Kea`au starter Maleko Remlinger early for a pair of runs in the second inning. Makoa Rosario led off the inning with a walk, and the right-handed hurler compounded his problems with his next pitch, hitting Micah Carter with a fastball to put two runners on with no one out.
Kupono Decker attempted a sacrifice bunt to move both runners, but Remlinger wasn’t satisfied with getting the sure out. He picked up the bunt and turned to third base to throw out the lead runner. The idea failed as the ball bounced past third baseman Cody Silva and into foul territory in shallow left field, scoring Rosario. Three batters later, Chad Teshima grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Carter, putting the Warriors up 2-0.
In the third inning, a pair of errors cost the Cougars a chance to stay close. With one out, Jordan Hirae sent a fly ball into left center field that was misplayed by Rylan Martines, the third error of the game for Kea`au. Rosario followed with a single and Carter walked to load the bases. Decker returned to the plate and grounded out to Remlinger, who threw home to get Hirae out. Next up was Davis, who hit a hard grounder to shortstop Jonathan Segovia. Segovia made a pretty backhanded stab of the baseball, but his throw took first baseman Keha Wong off of the base, scoring Rosario and a hustling Carter to extend the lead to 4-0.
Matt Chun took the very next pitch deep into the outfield for a two-run double, scoring Decker and Davis to give KSH a 6-0 advantage through two and a half innings.
While the offense was opening up a big advantage, Alika Young was weaving a solid performance on the pitcher’s mound for the Warriors. In the first meeting between the teams, Young tossed four no-hit innings in his team’s victory. On Wednesday, Young retired 10 batters in a row between the first four innings before allowing a two-out hit to Remlinger. The hit wouldn’t hurt at all as the Kea`au pitcher was gunned down trying to steal second base to end the inning.
Young improved to 2-0 with the victory, allowing just two runs, one of them earned, on four hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
In the fifth, Kamehameha-Hawai`i got the first two men on base and brought them both home. Chun’s sacrifice fly scored Carter, who reached on a walk, while Teshima’s RBI base hit brought home Decker, who reached on a Remlinger error, to extend the lead to 8-0.
The Cougars started to get to Young in the fifth. Rason Martines led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Later in the inning, Byron Cachola singled him home to put Kea`au on the board, down 8-1.
KS-Hawai`i reapplied the pressure in the sixth. Rosario and Decker were both hit by pitches early in the frame, and Davis made Remlinger pay for his control problems by singling the lead man home to extend the lead to 9-1.
Kea`au came back in the bottom half of that inning with the same grit that has earned them praise from coaches around the league. Young hit Segovia with a pitch to put him on base with one out in the inning. Two batters later, Remlinger hit a slow grounder to second base that Teshima threw past his first baseman, allowing Segovia to come home, making the score 9-2.
Silva pitched the seventh inning for Kea`au and immediately ran into problems. He game up a pair of doubles to Chay Toson and Bronson Pulgados, with the latter’s drive extending the lead to 10-2. Jordan Hirae brought Pulgados in with a sacrifice fly RBI to put the Warriors up 11-2.
Young stayed on to get his first complete game, allowing a walk before inducing a 5-4-3 double play and notching a strikeout to end the game.
While the Warriors have clinched the regular season championship, the state berth that would normally be associated with that championship is still at stake. According to this year’s new format, a spot in the Wally Yonamine Foundation / Hawai`i High School Athletic Association state baseball tournament in Oahu is given to the regular season champion, but only if that team wins the championship without the help of a tiebreaker.
The only other team in Division II with two losses in the standings is Konawaena, who defeated Hawai`i Preparatory Academy 7-5 to lock up the tournament’s second seed. If Konawaena defeats Kohala on Saturday, then both the Wildcats and Warriors would finish the regular season with a 7-2 record counting toward tournament seeding. Kamehameha-Hawai`i owns the tiebreaker over Konawaena due to a win earlier in the year, which is why they can already state claim to the league’s top seed.
However, if Konawaena wins Saturday, that means that both state tournament berths will be decided during Friday’s league semifinals. A Konawaena loss would send KSH to the state tournament and leave the last state tournament spot, a seeded place in the tournament, up for grabs in the tournament.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i 024 021 2 – 11 7 1
Kea`au 000 011 0 – 2 5 7
Wednesday’s BIIF scoreboard
Konawaena 7, Hawai`i Prep 5
Hilo 18, Pahoa 0 (5 innings)
Honoka`a 6, Kohala 3