Early Offense Powers KS-Hawai’i to DII Title
The Kamehameha-Hawai’i Warriors are still on the search for their first state championship in high school baseball. Thursday’s doubleheader sweep of Konawaena may have been a statement to its upcoming opponents that the Warriors are ready to take that final step toward a state title.
Kamehameha-Hawai’i (15-2, 12-1) defeated Konawaena 7-2 and 7-0 Thursday night to win the 2015 Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II best-of-three championship series. Both teams will represent the BIIF in the Wally Yonamine Foundation/Hawai’i High School Athletic Association Baseball Championships, held May 7-9 on Oahu.
Quick offense, and some help from inexperienced pitching, allowed Kamehameha-Hawai’i to jump out to early leads in each game. In the opener, Konawaena freshman Stevie Teixeira walked four batters and only recorded one out. The Warriors scored five runs, the last two off of reliever Logan Canda, to open up the scoring. Two more crossed in the second inning, thanks to a two-run double by Makana Aiona, to push Kamehameha-Hawai’i ahead 7-0 after two innings.
In the second game, Kamehemeha-Hawai’i jumped on another freshman starter, Kolu Alani, for three first inning runs. Kobi Candaroma drilled a two-run triple to right field, scoring Dallas Duarte and Baron Victorino. Daylan Calicdan brought Candaroma home on a ground ball out.
Tough pitching took the baton and kept the game in control. Freshman Reese Mondina (2-0) picked up the win for Kamehameha-Hawai’i in game one, pitching six-and-a-third innings, allowing two runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Calicdan came in and got the last two outs, stranding three runners on base in the final inning.
Ace Malu Peralta (6-0) was strong in the nightcap, improving as the game went along. He struck out 11 and walked five in his complete game win, throwing 121 pitches.
Konawaena’s youth was put under a gigantic spotlight at Wong Stadium. Alani settled down after allowing the three first-inning runs. He pitched six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, striking out two and walking two in 98 pitches. Another freshman, Andrew Udac, pitched the seventh, allowing the three runs that put the finale out of reach.
Injuries decimated Konawaena’s chances in the nightcap. Shortstop Shelton Grace and center fielder Vohn Yamaguchi collided on a pop-up to shallow center field in the opener. Yamaguchi left the game and didn’t play in the nightcap. Grace eventually left the game and was only used as a pinch-hitter in the second game. Junior Anthony Ward started the first game, but was on the bench to open the second because of a wrist injury. He was used as a pinch hitter. Left fielder Koa Basque also sat the second game with a nagging hip injury.
Kamehameha-Hawai’i was led offensively by Candaroma (3-for-7, RBI), Calicdan (2-for-5, RBI), Aiona (4-for-8, 4 RBI), and Jai Cabatbat (2-for-8, 4 RBI)
Canda and Shelton Grace each had an RBI for Konawaena in the series. Canda batted 3-for-6, Ward hit 2-for-3 with a walk, and Grace was 2-for-3 with two walks.
Kamehameha-Hawai’i will be making its fourth consecutive appearance in the state tournament. The Warriors lost in the championship game in each of the last two years.
Konawaena will return to the tournament for the first time since 2013. The Wildcats were knocked out in the first round that season.
Konawaena 001 001 0 – 2 9 0
Kamehameha-Hawai’i 520 000 x – 7 10 1
Kamehameha-Hawai’i 301 000 3 – 7 10 2
Konawaena 000 000 0 – 0 3 3