Stars Rally Back to Win Rain-Shortened Contest
A quick, heavy downpour halted Na Koa Ikaika Maui’s seven-run outburst in the first three innings of last night’s game against the Hawai`i Stars at Wong Stadium.
Another downpour ended the night early after the Stars scored eight unanswered runs in the next four innings to take their first and only lead of the game.
As Milli Vanilli once sang, “Blame it on the Rain.”
Hawai`i (24-35) starter Onan Masaoka struggled early. He allowed five hits in the first inning, including an RBI double by Jeremy Williams and an RBI single from Jimmy Rohan. The former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher exhausted 27 pitches in the opening frame.
The Stars got one back in the bottom of the inning. Anthony Williams led off with a double that bounced over third base into left field. Jeremy Williams misplayed the ball in left, allowing the Stars’ shortstop to take third base. Dustin Smith drove him in with a ground ball out to cut the Na Koa Ikaika lead to 2-1.
Masaoka was hit hard again in the third inning, allowing five runs on five hits under a persistent downpour. Williams started the inning with a double past third base. Rohan brought him in two batters later on an RBI single to right field. Ray Serrano also scored on the play when right fielder Reggie Taylor airmailed a through to third base. Angus Roeger followed with an RBI base knock into shallow center field to drive Rohan in and give Maui a 5-1 advantage.
The Stars lefty got the next two outs but couldn’t completely close the door on Na Koa. Following a walk to Waylen Sing Chow and a wild pitch that put two runners in scoring position, Charlie Mirabal dunked a two-run single into shallow left field, pushing Maui’s lead to 7-1.
The umpires put a halt to the contest after the lengthy top of the third as heavy showers began to affect field conditions, particularly around home plate. Masaoka’s night was also halted. He allowed seven runs (five earned) on ten hits over three tough innings. He threw 65 pitches and took the no decision.
The Stars got back to work following the 17 minute rain delay. Felix Brown started the home half of the third inning with a walk issued by Josh Larson. After stealing second base and reaching third on a wild pitch, Brown scored when Williams hit a ground ball to Rohan at the shortstop position. Williams was able to reach base when Rohan struggled to field the ball. The Stars couldn’t capitalize on the mistake, however, as Smith hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
Former Kamehameha-Hawai`i and University of Hawai`i at Hilo standout Aaron Correa took the mound in the fourth inning and silenced Maui’s bats. He allowed one single, a bloop shot into right field in between three different Stars players, and allowed another batter to reach on an error, but was effective in his three innings of relief. He struck out three batters and picked up the win in his Hawai`i debut.
Correa last pitched for the St. Paul Saints of the American Association. He was 0-1 with an 11.81 earned run average before exiting the club on July 21. He spent the last two years in the AA independent league, pitching for Sioux City, Winnipeg, and St. Paul.
Na Koa (39-24) lost momentum in the fifth inning. Matt Hibbert drilled a double over center fielder Sing Chow’s head to start the inning. He would score when Brown tripled into the right center field gap, cutting the Maui lead to 7-3.
Later in the inning Reggie Taylor drove in Williams on a fielder’s choice. Taylor eventually scored on a wild pitch and Hawai`i chopped Maui’s lead to 7-5 after five innings.
Zach Foster replaced Larson on the mound to start the bottom of the sixth and immediately ran into trouble. With the bases loaded and one out, he threw a pitch that got by catcher Nick Valdez, allowing Tyler Krobetzky to score and everyone else to move up 90 feet. Williams was later hit by a pitch, the second time it happened in the inning, to re-load the bases. That brought up Smith, who fouled off the first pitch but didn’t take the bat off of his shoulders again. He drew a walk to score Mitch Levier and tie the game.
Foster (1-2) would be chased from the game after getting only two outs. TJ Macy replaced him and gave up a two-run single by Taylor on his first pitch, scoring Hibbert and Williams to push the Stars ahead 9-7.
That sealed Foster as the losing pitcher. He was on the hook for all four runs in the sixth inning, allowing two hits, hitting two batters, and walking two more.
The Stars prepared to have John Holley Jr. pitch the seventh inning, but before he could throw his first pitch, the umpires again sent everyone into the dugout. Eight minutes after the rain delay started and a longer, harder band of showers fell over Wong Stadium, the Na Koa dugout threw a white towel over the dugout fence. The game would be called moments after that.
Maui committed four errors on the night, helping to spoil a decent start by Larson. The right-handed starter pitched five innings, allowing five runs (three earned) on three hits with four strikeouts and three walks. The bullpen couldn’t keep the game together for him.
Smith and Taylor each drove in two runs for Hawai`i. Six players each picked up hits.
Na Koa’s Serrano picked up three singles in three at-bats. Williams, Rohan, and Roeger each had a pair of hits.
The Stars have won the last two games of the series and lead the five game set 2-1. Game four of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 5:35 p.m.
Na Koa 205 000 – 7 11 4
Hawai`i 101 034 – 9 6 2
The Stars have scheduled several promotions to draw people to the ballpark for the final two games of the season.
On Saturday, Minit Stop is the sponsor for the game. The company’s mascot will make a visit and special in-stadium promotions and activities are scheduled.
Sunday’s 1:35 p.m. finale will feature members of the Paradise Roller Girls. The roller derby group will have a table in the lobby for people to buy tickets to their Aug. 24 bout against the Hulagans of Oahu.