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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 22, 2005

Punahou champs again

By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer

Whether Punahou is the 13th best high school baseball team in the nation — as it is ranked in USA Today's Super 25 — or the 38th, as it is in Baseball America's latest poll, is still uncertain.

Punahou's baseball team added a second state team championship for the school this weekend. The Buffanblu girls basketball team won the state title on Friday.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

But the Buffanblu (21-2-1 overall) left no doubt last night that they are the best in Hawai'i, defeating Kailua, 3-1, to win their second straight state championship before 2,743 at Les Murakami Stadium.

"It's a relief," said Punahou first baseman Kasey Ko, a four-year starter who went 3 for 4 with a run batted in last night. "We just played how we always play — everybody contributed — and even though it wasn't easy, we just pulled through."

As usual, senior ace Jared Pate was key to the huge victory, taking a perfect game into the fifth inning and finishing with a two-hitter. Pate, a right-hander who threw mostly fastballs and curves, was 12-1 this season and never lost with first place or elimination on the line.

The perfect game was broken up by Matt Kinoshita's one-out double to right field in the fifth, and the only other hit he gave up was Kekoa Su'a's infield single in the bottom of the seventh. The only perfect game in state title game history was thrown by Punahou's Glenn Goya in 1972.

"I tried not to think about it, I just tried to pitch to get outs," Pate said. "We came out knowing they're aggressive baserunners, so we tried extra hard to keep them off the bases. I just tried to hit my spots, but I definitely had good command of my pitches so that made it easier."

Punahou's Jared Pate took a perfect game into the fifth inning and finished with a two-hitter. He struck out five and walked none.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Although Pate was cruising along, the game was still tight as Kailua starter Mike D'Alessio pitched three innings of shutout ball. The Buffanblu took a 1-0 lead in the fourth only after a balk call with runners on second and third and two outs. The next batter grounded out to short.

"It was unfortunate but that stuff happens; we never play perfect," Kailua coach Corey Ishigo said.

Punahou went up 2-0 in the fifth inning after Kyle Fujimoto led off with a single and pinch runner Danny Cho scored on a perfect hit-and-run with Ko, who sliced a double into the left-center gap.

The Buffanblu made it 3-0 in the sixth after Reyn Kubota's two out single, an error and Landon Nakata's run-scoring single.

The Surfriders got their first two runners aboard in the seventh on an error and Su'a's single, and Su'a scored on a double play grounder. But Pate sealed the win with a strikeout, his fifth against no walks.

"I don't think this is my win; it's everyone's win," said Pate, named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. "We all knew what we wanted, and we came out and got it."

Reach Wes Nakama at wnakama@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2456.

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