Mid-Pacific shuts down Iolani, 4-0
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
|Mid-Pacific's Isaac Omura has reason to smile after hitting a two-run, inside-the-park home run in the fourth inning.
Gregory Yamamoto The Honolulu Advertiser
But that's not how the Owls approached it. Playing hungrily, MPI beat Iolani, 4-0, at Aloha Stadium to reach Saturday's tournament final. Iolani will play Pac-Five, a 5-2 upset winner over Punahou, in an elimination game at 6 tonight at Ala Wai Field.
A victory on Saturday will earn the Owls (14-3) the ILH championship and return what was once theirs 10 days ago: a state tournament berth. MPI had clinched a berth by winning the ILH regular-season title, but that berth was taken away when the state tournament field was reduced from 12 to eight teams due to the 20-day public schools teachers' strike. The ILH allotment of berths was reduced from two to one.
Mid-Pacific thus needed to either win the league's double-elimination tournament or beat the team that did in a playoff. The Owls and Raiders each entered last night's game unbeaten in the tournament, so now MPI will have three chances to clinch the state berth.
Sophomore Ryan Basco and senior Ricky Bauer combined on a three-hitter and Isaac Omura slammed a two-run, inside-the-park homer to spur a four-run fourth inning last night. Basco and Bauer helped strand seven runners.
"We want that state berth back," Bauer said. "We're playing like there's no tomorrow."
The Owls certainly gave the Raiders (12-5) little slack. Iolani put runners on second and third in three different innings the second, fourth and fifth. But Basco induced pop flies to end the first two rallies, and Bauer came in to record three consecutive strikeouts to snuff out the fifth-inning threat.
"We went right at 'em," Basco said. "We trusted our defense. It was all about confidence."
Iolani starter Corey Yamamoto escaped a second-inning jam after the Owls put runners on second and third with one out. But he ran into trouble in the fourth.
Kevin Khan led off with a walk, and Omura followed with a drive to the right-center field gap. By the time the Raiders got the ball back to the infield, Omura had crossed home plate with his fifth home run of the season.
Dane Marcouiller followed with a triple down the left-field line, then scored on a single by Clint Copulos, who eventually scored on a throwing error.
If Pac-Five wins today, it would advance to the tournament final but Mid-Pacific would clinch the state berth because Pac-Five is ineligible for the state tournament due to Hawai'i High School Athletic Association rules regarding combined teams.
IOLANI (2-1, 12-5) 000 000 00 3 1
MID-PACIFIC (3-0, 13-3) 000 400 X4 6 1
Corey Yamamoto and Travis Mitsuda. Ryan Basco, Ricky Bauer (5) and Matt Inouye. WPBasco. LPYamamoto.
Leading hitters: MPIIsaac Omura 2-3, home run, 2 RBIs.
PAC-FIVE 5, PUNAHOU 2: Jeff Soranaka allowed two runs and two hits in a complete-game performance to lead the Wolfpack into tonight's elimination game against Iolani.
Aaron Kano and John Kato each had two RBIs for Pac-Five. The Wolfpack broke a 1-all tie with two runs each in the fifth and sixth innings.
Punahou (2-2, 10-8) 000 010 12 2 1
Pac-five (3-1, 7-11) 010 022 x5 10 1
Kea Kometani, Shawn Kiriu (6) and Todd LaFountaine, Randall Mizuno (2). Jeff Soranaka and Korey Shinagawa. WPSoranaka. LPKometani.
Leading hitters: Pac-FiveShinagawa 2-3; Aaron Kano double, 2 RBIs; Troy Okada 2-3, double; Jon Kato 2-3, 2 RBIs.