Hilo Claims BIIF DI Crown in 11-Inning Thriller
Consistent rain forced Hilo and Waiakea to wait one extra day to play the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I championship game.
After waiting three hours on Friday before the postponement and another 15 and a half hours before taking the field on Sunday at noon, it was only fitting that both teams needed four extra innings to determine the overall league champion.
Three hours and 46 minutes after first pitch, the Vikings were the ones celebrating following their 8-5 win in 11 innings over defending state champion Waiakea, clinching a seeded spot in the Wally Yonamine Foundation / Hawai`i High School Athletic Association Division I Championship on Maui.
The Vikings were an out away from celebrating in regulation, but Waiakea rallied back in the last frame to force extra innings. With one out, Kean Wong reached on a fielding error by Hilo second baseman Tyler Higa. Next batter up against reliever Jordan Tagawa was Kodi Medeiros, who singled to left-center field, moving Wong over to third base. Wong would later score on a wild pitch, creeping the Warriors within a run.
Two batters later and down to his final strike, freshman Caleb Freitas-Fields came through with a base hit through the middle of the diamond against reliever Nic Fukunaga, scoring Medeiros to tie the game.
The threat was not over, however. Fukunaga hit Aaron Nishiura with a pitch, leading to Hilo coach Tony DeSa pulling him in favor of Jalen Carvalho. The right-hander immediately hit Taylor Mondina with a pitch, loading the bases for Chase Komatsu, who grounded out deep to second base to end the inning.
Both Carvalho and Freitas-Fields, who entered the game in relief in the seventh inning for Waiakea, battled through trouble every inning, creating dramatic moments at every inning’s end.
In the 11th frame, Carvalho started things off with a single. Drew Kell moved him over with a sacrifice bunt and Micah Kaaukai got him to third base with a ground ball out. Freitas-Fields hit the next two batters with pitches to load the bases, setting up Chayce Kaaua in a key spot with two out.
Freitas-Fields drilled the Vikings catcher with a pitch, scoring Carvalho to give Hilo a 6-5 lead. Isaiah Banasan would then score on a wild pitch to add to the lead, and Jodd Carter’s RBI single brought Tyler Higa in to score, giving Hilo an 8-5 lead going to the bottom of the inning.
Carvalho allowed Freitas-Fields to reach on an error by Hilo third baseman Eli Cruz with one out in the bottom of the inning, but settled down by striking out Nishiura and forcing a groundout from Mondina.
Carvalho picked up his first win of the season, pitching four and a thirds innings of three-hit baseball, walking a batter, hitting another one, and striking out three. He had pitched three and a thirds innings before this game.
Hilo (14-6-1 overall, 12-3 BIIF overall, 9-3 BIIF seeding) played from behind through the first two innings. Starter Cody Kaniho allowed a first inning run when Freitas-Fields singled through the left side of the infield, scoring Wong to give the Warriors a 1-0 advantage.
In the second, Kaniho’s struggles continued with two out. He hit Alika Guillermo with a 3-0 pitch to get on base, then followed it with a walk to Wong. Medeiros came up next and drilled a triple to right field, driving them both home to extend the lead to 3-0.
Jordan Tagawa entered the game at the beginning of the third inning and was stellar in relief of Kaniho. He didn’t allow a hit until the seventh inning when Medeiros reached base with one out. He walked two batters in four and a thirds innings of relief.
While Tagawa was collecting outs, Hilo’s offense started to wake up. In the third inning, Hilo picked up three consecutive hits on Waiakea starter Medeiros. The last one, a Jodd Carter single, scored Chayce Kaaua to put Hilo on the board.
That was only the start of Medeiros’ issues. The junior left-hander unraveled in the fourth inning. He hit three consecutive batters, Carvalho, Kell, and Kaaukai, to start the inning. Three batters later, he plunked Kaaua to bring home Carvalho, cutting Waiakea’s lead to 3-2. The southpaw’s very next pitch was a wild pitch that drove in Kell to the the game. Carter then grounded to Guillermo, who committed an error to score Kaaukai, giving Hilo a 4-3 advantage.
Medeiros was chased from the mound after another walk, ending his day after three and a thirds innings and 72 pitches, right around the pitch limit set for him. He allowed five runs and four hits with three walks and four hit batters.
Calvin Uemura came in and gave up a hit to Elijah Cruz, giving Hilo a 5-3 lead before the inning ended. The freshman didn’t allow a run in two and a thirds innings, giving up three hits in the process.
Freitas-Fields dropped to 2-1 in the losing effort. At the plate, he batted 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI’s. On the mound, he allowed three runs on four hits in five innings.
Waiakea (13-7 overall, 10-3 BIIF overall, 8-3 BIIF seeding) was led at the plate by Medeiros, who 4-for-6 with two runs batted in and a run scored.
Kaaua batted 2-for-4 with two runs batted in, both on hit batters, and two runs scored. Carter went 2-for-5 with an RBI. Kell went 2-for-2 at the plate with three successful sacrifice bunts.
Hilo 001 400 000 03 – 8 10 4
Waiakea 120 000 200 00 – 7 9 2