Knockout: Maryknoll Wins DII Baseball Title in Mercy Rule
WAIPAHU – Three years ago, Kamehameha-Hawaii rode the highs and lows of big innings in their state championship loss to Waimea.
Saturday at Oahu’s Hans L`Orange Field, the Warriors fell victim to another gigantic inning, a 10-run third, as the Big Island Interscholastic Federation champions lost to Maryknoll 14-0 in the Wally Yonamine Foundaton / Hawai`i High School Athletic Association Division II Baseball Championship.
The Spartans, champions of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, won their second state championship and first since 2009. Both championships were earned at the Division II level.
Both clubs traded two scoreless innings and wasted opportunities until the devastating third inning, when Maryknoll plated 10 runs and got eight consecutive hitters to reach base. Kamehameha-Hawai`i starter Alika Young allowed three consecutive singles to start the inning with the last one from Neal Nakasone, a bloop single over a drawn-in infield that touched the glove of second baseman Chad Teshima, driving in Connor Donahue to lead off the scoring.
Two batters later, Justin Ushio sent a fly ball into right field that was dropped by Jordan Hirae, driving home Trevor Hirano to add another run to the lead. That, however, would only be the tip of the iceberg.
The real drama began with two our and two on base. Young hit Brent Hironaga with a pitch to load the bases, and on the very next pitch, Phillip Aylward lined a single into center field to score a pair of runs, pushing the lead out to 4-0. Jason Nakamura singled to get on base, and Donahue followed with his second hit of the inning, a two run single to push the lead out to 6-0.
That hit ended the day for Young, who allowed eight runs, six of them earned, on six hits in 60 pitches. He took the loss.
Jordan Hirae entered the game and struggled mightly to get the inning’s elusive final out. Trevor Hirano sent a double down the left field line to drive home a run, and Nakasone followed up with his second run-producing hit of the inning, a two-run single to push the lead up to 9-0. After a Jed Andrade single, Ushio picked up the final hit of the inning, an RBI single to score Nakasone and complete the 10-run inning.
In all, 15 batters reached the plate against Kamehameha-Hawai`i. The Spartans collected ten hits, including eight in a row, and stranded two runners in the marathon inning.
The Warriors tried to scratch their way back into the game by getting runners on base. In the third, Chad Teshima singled into left field with two out, but was stranded on base. Bronson Pulgados got a lead off single to start the fourth inning, but was erased on an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play, the second twin killing of the game executed by Maryknoll.
The mercy rule came into the picture as Maryknoll stepped up to the plate in the top of the fifth inning. A 10-run deficit at the end of the inning would secure the championship for the Spartans, and the ILH champions made sure that Kamehameha-Hawai`i would have to pull off an incredible inning just to keep the game going.
Maryknoll opened the inning with the first five batters reaching base against Hirae. Donahue was hit by a pitch, Hirano singled, and Nakasone collected his third single to drive in Donahue to extend the lead to 11-0. Andrade was walked to load the bases, bringing up Ushio, whose patience earned another walk, driving home Hirano to add to their lead.
Hirae was pulled after the bases-loaded free pass, pitching an inning and a third, allowing six runs, five of them earned, on six hits with a pair of walks.
Teshima moved over to the mound from second base and was able to get the first out at home plate on a fielder’s choice. Josh Muneno followed next with a ground ball to first baseman Micah Carter, who knocked it off of his chest and into foul ground, allowing Andrade to score. Aylward drove a sacrifice fly to center field to bring home Ushio to close out the scoring, leaving Kamehameha-Hawai`i with a 14-run deficit and in search of five runs just to keep the game alive.
Kupono Decker led the bottom half of the fifth inning off with a single into center field to follow the “one at a time” theory of minimizing a big deficit. Two batters later and down to their last two outs, Matt Chun grounded out into what looked to be a sure 6-4-3 double play, but second baseman Nakamura’s throw to Muneno sailed high into foul ground.
It appeared that the game would at least see one more at-bat, but Chun turned slightly toward second base after running through the first base bag, and Maryknoll knew it. They placed the tag on Chun before he realized what he had done and the game was suddenly, and shockingly, over.
The quietest story in Saturday’s championship game was the performance of Maryknoll pitcher Chase Uyema. The right-hander picked up a win in five innings of work against Konawaena on Thursday and gained another win Saturday by pitching a four-hit shutout. In only 46 pitches, he struck out three and didn’t allow a free pass.
The 2013 championship game brought eerie memories to the 2010 title game where big innings were the big story between Kamehameha-Hawai`i and Kauai’s Waimea High School. The Warriors scored nine runs in the third inning against the Menehune but watched eight cross the plate against them in the next inning. Waimea took the lead in the fifth inning with a two-run frame and ultimately won 11-10.
Three Warriors, Decker, Pulgados, and Teshima, played in both championship defeats.
The Warriors finished the season with an 18-3-1 record. Their road to the championship game included wins against fourth-seeded Kapa`a and top-seeded Waianae. Their season included a pair of wins against Konawaena, the Big Island’s second representative in the Division II tourney, and a preseason tie against Division I state semifinalist Hilo.
Maryknoll finished their championship year with a 13-6-1 record. After beating Konawaena on Thursday, the Spartans beat Mokoka`i for the second time this year to advance to the championship game. Maryknoll also beat Division I state participant Maui in a non-league game in February.
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