Late Rally Seals BIIF DI Baseball Title for Waiakea
It’s just another chapter in a long, wild, and unique rivalry between Hilo and Waiakea.
Trailing 5-0 and four outs away from being forced to return to Wong Stadium for a winner-take-all series finale, Waiakea pulled off an improbable comeback. The Warriors scored four runs in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh to beat Hilo 6-5 in the second game of Wednesday’s Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I championship series, clinching the series sweep against the Vikings.
Waiakea won the first game 5-1 earlier in the day.
“They just stuck it out. They never gave up,” said Waiakea coach Jensen Sato after the game. “Credit to them. They bought into what we are trying to do. Champions never give up. They are resilient.”
Hilo’s Jalen Carvalho took a 5-0 lead into the sixth inning of the second game of the day. He walked Kodi Medeiros and Nathan Minami, but was just an out away from getting out of the inning when pinch-hitter Grant Nonaka smashed a double down the third base line, bringing Medeiros home to cut the Vikings’ lead to 5-1. Mackanzy Maesaka followed with a base hit to bring Minami home, and Matt Camacho reached on a fielding error by Noah Higa-Gonsalves at second base, allowing Nonaka to come in. Bryce Felipe, another pinch-hitter, dropped an infield single on the right side of the diamond to get Waiakea within a run.
Medeiros reached base to start the seventh, singling down the right field line to get on base. An error by Hilo shortstop Micah Kaaukai allowed Caleb Freitas-Fields to reach base, and Medeiros was able to steal third base, setting up a bunt fielder’s choice by Minami, which brought home Medeiros to tie the game at 5-5.
Two batters later, Ryder Oshiro returned to the game and blasted a deep double to right center field, scoring Minami to put Waiakea ahead 6-5.
Caleb Freitas-Fields started the game on the mound, and despite pitching from behind most of the game, was able to finish the game.
The sophomore hit Kaaukai with a pitch to start the inning, but two batters later, induced a line drive out by Carvalho to second baseman Trevor Shimokusu, who made a web-gem caliber play by diving back to his right to catch the tough liner. Kaaukai was running on the play, and Shimokusu got up and threw the ball to first to end the game.
Freitas-Fields settled down after a mixed start to the game. From innings three through five, he retired nine consecutive batters. He also didn’t allow a hit after the third inning and allowed only two base runners since on a walk and hit batter.
“My coach told me that I was rushing, so I settled down, started relaxing, and just hit my spots,” said Freitas-Fields after the game.
Freitas-Fields allowed five runs on eight hits with ten strikeouts and two walks. He threw 105 pitches in the victory.
Hilo put pressure on the young pitcher early in the game. Isaiah Banasan walked and headed to third after Kaaukai doubled to left-center. A wild pitch by Freitas-Fields allowed Banasan to score. Jodd Carter came up next and delivered a single into left that scored Kaaukai. Three batters later, Joey Jarneski delivered a single into right field, bringing Carter in to close a three run opening inning.
In the third inning, the Vikings picked up four straight hits against against Freitas-Fields. Carter, Carvalho, and Noah Serrao each got singles before Jarneski brought Carter in with his second hit of the game. Carvalho later scored on a wild pitch, putting Hilo up 5-0 in the bottom of the third inning.
Carvalho didn’t factor in the decision, after starting strong on the mound for Hilo. The Oregon Tech commit gave up five runs on seven hits over six innings with three walks and two strikeouts. Jodd Carter took the loss after giving up the go-ahead run in the final inning. He allowed just one hit while walking a batter and hitting another.
Wednesday’s superb pitching performance, however, came from Waiakea senior Kodi Medeiros, who allowed just one hit while striking out 14 hitters in the game one win.
“Today, he was controlling both sides of the plate,” Sato explained. “With a talent like that, he can do that, pound the zone, get first pitch strikes. He’s hard to hit.”
Medeiros’ strikeout total matched the number he put up in the only regular season meeting between the two teams back on April 11. With better command and control this time around, his complete game, 102 pitch performance, was possibly his best start of the season, a treat for the scouts in attendance that represented St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Miami, Philadelphia, and Kansas City.
Medeiros initially pitched himself into trouble in the opening inning, hitting Banasan with a pitch in the first at-bat. An error by Freitas-Fields at shortstop moved Banasan over, and Carvalho brought him in with a sacrifice fly to center field, putting the Vikings on top in the first.
That was the only ball to leave the outfield all game. Medeiros induced five ground ball outs and one pop out, which he fielded.
It took a while for Medeiros to get run support, since Hilo freshman Jarneski fooled the Warriors’ bats early on. Jarneski gave up just two hits through the first three innings, striking out three, while forcing a pair of inning-ending double plays.
The Warriors’ bats got a better look at Jarneski the second time around. Gehrig Octavio opened the fourth inning by reaching on an error by Hilo first baseman Conrad Kaufmann. Two batters later, Freitas-Fields doubled deep to left field, moving Octavio over to third. Minami singled through the middle of the diamond, scoring Octavio to tie the game at 1-1.
Three pitches later, Taylor Mondina drilled a triple to bring Freitas-Fields and Minami home, giving Waiakea a 3-1 lead. Mondina later scored on a passed ball to extend the lead to 4-1.
In the sixth, Waiakea put up four consecutive hits against Jarneski. Medeiros singled but was caught trying to steal second base. Freitas-Fields laced another double down the left-field line, and Minami moved him over to third. Mondina delivered again with a single to center, scoring Freitas-Fields to give Waiakea a 5-1 advantage.
Jarneski took the loss, pitching all seven innings for Hilo in the opening game. He allowed nine hits with three strikeouts in just 75 pitches.
Waiakea’s 2-5 hitters in the lineup consistently swung their bats well. Medeiros, Freitas-Fields, Minami, and Mondina combined to pick up 11 of the Warriors’ 17 hits in the series.
Carter, Carvalho, Kaufmann, and Jarneski each paired hits during the series.
Both teams will represent the BIIF in next week’s Wally Yonamine Foundation / Hawai`i High School Athletic Association Division I Championships, held at Les Murakami Stadium on the campus of the Unviersity of Hawai`i. Hilo will play Tuesday while Waiakea will receive a seeded berth and open play on Wednesday.
Hilo 100 000 0 – 1 1 2
Waiakea 000 401 x – 5 9 1
Waiakea 000 004 2 – 6 8 1
Hilo 302 000 0 – 5 8 2