Walk-Off Home Run Downs Konawaena in Quarterfinals
Konawaena baseball coach Adam Tabieros spent the last week trying to improve his team’s conditioning leading into this week’s Wally Yonamine Foundation/Hawai’i High School Athletic Association Division II State Baseball Championships, citing mental and physical fatigue in the late innings of the league championship series against Kamehameha-Hawai’i.
The Wildcats ran out of gas again, watching a 5-0 lead going into the fourth inning slip away. Then, the big blow, a three-run inside-the-park home run by Joey Ching in the bottom of the seventh inning, gave Oahu Interscholastic Association champion Kapolei a walk-off 6-5 victory over Konawaena in the state quarterfinals at Wong Stadium.
Kolu Alani looked to get the three-out save in the seventh inning and was close to getting it after quickly recording the first two outs. Things unraveled quickly as he hit Mykah Kuratani with a 3-2 pitch, followed by a walk on a full count to Joe Uesato. Just two pitches later, Joe Uesato drilled the ball to deep left field. Konawaena outfielder Phillip Grace reached out to make the catch, but ran out of room and crashed into the fence. He stayed down while the ball laid in the left field grass, allowing Uesato to come all the way around to score and end the game.
Kapolei (14-0) started its comeback in the fourth inning. With the bases loased, Konawaena starting pitcher Logan Canda walked Andrei Stoyanow to bring in the first run, followed by a walk to Tristen Manoha-Dias to score another run. In the fifth, Corey Slade hit an RBI single to left field, scoring Isaac Badua, to cut the deficit to 5-3.
Canda’s day would end after that, pitching 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on three hits with five walks. Tristan DeAguiar followed with 1 2/3 innings of relief, allowing just a hit and two walks.
Ty-Noah Williams (6-0) struggled early on the mound for Kapolei, allowing a run on a ground ball out by Tevin Canda in the first inning. Then in the second, three Hurricanes errors scratched home Alani, AJ Allred, and Andrew Udac, and a sacrifice fly by Logan Canda scored Kaiya Leleiwi to extend the lead to 5-0.
Williams settled down after that, scattering five hits in the final five innings with a pair of walks. He threw 113 pitches in a gritty effort to get the victory.
Ching batted 2-for-3 in the game with a single and a walk, and Slade batted 2-for-4 with a par of singles for Kapolei.
Kapolei will face fellow OIA member Radford in the semifinals on Friday afternoon at Wong Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 4:15 p.m.
Konawaena moves down to the consolation bracket, where it will face Kauai Interscholastic Federation champion Kauai at 11:15 a.m.
Konawaena 140 000 0 – 5 7 0
Kapolei 000 210 3 – 3 5 3