Opportunistic Vikings Cruise Past Honoka’a
The phrase “give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile” fits the Hilo High School baseball team perfectly.
Hilo didn’t obliterate Honoka’a in its 10-1 victory Saturday afternoon at Wong Stadium, but it took full advantage of every opportunity the Dragons gave in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation matchup.
“We gotta do that,” said Hilo coach Tony De Sa on manufacturing runs and being an opportunistic team. “The kids bought in to that philosophy and we’re moving forward with that. We’ve gotta definitely try to move runners and play small ball when we need to. Everybody’s in it.”
Honoka’a (5-5) couldn’t bring home the first two men that reached base in the top of the first inning, but Hilo would fare better with the same situation in the bottom of the frame against Nainoa Falk. Noah Higa-Gonsalves drew a walk and Joey Jarneski followed with a single. Josiah Factora came up next and delivered a two-run double to straightaway center field to push Hilo on top. Factora later scored on a passed ball to give Hilo a 3-0 advantage.
Falk wouldn’t be able to get out of the second inning. Josh Breitbarth doubled to left field, Stone Miyao followed with a single, and Higa-Gonsalves followed with a walk. A balk issued to Falk scored one run, and Jarneski followed with a single to bring home Miyao. Next up was Factora against reliever Caden Perreira, who hit a ground ball to Honoka’a shortstop Jonathan Charbonneau, who misfired on his throw to first base, allowing another run to come home to extend the lead to 6-0 after two innings.
The play that probably underscored the opportunities that Honoka’a gave up came in the next inning. Logan Respicio scored from third base when Honoka’a catcher Kieran Lo missed wide on a routine return throw to his pitcher, making the score 7-0.
Perreira did his part to try to keep Honoka’a in the game after relieving Falk, who pitched one inning, allowing six runs, five of them earned, on six hits with three walks.
At one point, Perreira retired nine consecutive hitters between the third and fifth innings. He didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning, when three more runs scored on a wild pitch and a two-run single by Austin Aina, but he drew the attention of De Sa, who liked what the right-handed reliever showed on the mound.
“That pitcher is probably one of the best in the league, I would say,” De Sa exclaimed. “He’s something else. He’s good.”
Hilo (6-2) got a good effort from right-hander Joey Jarneski, pitching for the first time in BIIF play. He did appear in a game against Kamehameha-Hawai’i, but since it rained out before it reached five innings, the game was scrapped.
Jarneski pitched five innings, striking out six and allowing five hits while giving up an unearned run in the fourth inning on an RBI base hit by Micah Mendes, adding to his 2-for-3 day at the plate.
“I thought he pitched well. We didn’t help him on defense a lot,” De Sa said about his starter. “He did what he had to. He struck out people when he needed to. He knows how to pitch. He’s been in big games.”
Paki Akau batted 2-for-3 and had a stolen base for Honoka’a in the loss.
Honoka’a completed its third game in four days, going 2-1 in that stretch. The Dragons will host Kamehameha-Hawai’i in a tough tilt on Monday. Hilo, meanwhile, will take its four-game winning streak back to Wong Stadium on Monday for its final home game against Kealakehe.
Honoka’a 000 100 – 1 5 2
Hilo 33 003 x – 10 8 2
BIIF baseball scoreboard
Konawaena 6, Kea’au 2
Kamehameha-Hawai’i at Kohala, postponed (rescheduled for 3/29)
Waiakea at Kealakehe – not reported
Hawai’i Preparatory Academy at Pahoa – not reported