Moanalua, 'Aiea will play for OIA crown
|Kailua vs. Moanalua photo gallery|
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
WAIPI'O — For the third time in six seasons, Moanalua is one victory away from its first O'ahu Interscholastic Association baseball championship.
Na Menehune rallied past defending champion Kailua, 7-5, last night at Central O'ahu Regional Park to earn a shot at the title against 'Aiea tomorrow.
First pitch for the championship game is set for 5:30 p.m. at CORP; the game will be televised live statewide on OC-16.
Kailua had been Moanalua's nemesis in its last two title game appearances (in 2001 and last year), and the Surfriders (10-3) looked to be in control last night with a 4-1 lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning.
But Na Menehune (11-1) exploded for four runs in that frame, sparked by Jon Estores' two-run triple to center field, Markus Miyashiro's RBI single up the middle and Jared Coloma's run-scoring single to left. They added two more runs in the sixth on Jordan Monico's RBI triple to right and Kekoa Lee's sacrifice fly to left to make it 7-4.
Kailua closed it to 7-5 in the top of the seventh inning on Kainoa Uemoto's sacrifice fly to left, which also advanced runners to second and third with two outs. But closer Pete Arakawa got a strikeout to end it and send Moanalua to tomorrow's title game.
"The biggest difference in tonight's game was their seniors came through for them," Surfriders coach Corey Ishigo said. "Estores got that big triple and Peter Arakawa closed out the game for them. They stepped up."
Kailua took a 3-0 lead in the second inning on Kili Vierra's bases-loaded groundout, Preston Nakata's bases-loaded walk and Zach Akamine's run-scoring fielder's choice grounder.
Na Menehune closed it to 3-1 in the bottom of the inning after Trevan Kawaoka reached on a one-out single, advanced to second when Coloma was hit by a pitch, took third on Trevor Bell's bunt single and scored on another bunt single by Arakawa.
The Surfriders went up 4-1 in the fourth after Makana Opiopio reached on a fielder's choice groundout, stole second, advanced to third on Nakata's groundout and scored on Akamine's single to left.
But Moanalua did not panic and responded with the big fifth-inning rally.
"We haven't had a lot of blowouts this season, so I think playing all of those close games helped us," Na Menehune coach Scott Yamada said. "All those tight games taught us how to play in those situations."
Coloma pitched 2 1/3 innings of relief to earn the win.
KAILUA (10-3) 030 100 1 — 5 8 0
MOANALUA (11-1) 010 042 X — 7 13 2
Cowboy Alvarado, Patrick Murphy (2), Zach Akamine (5), Kili Vierra (5) and Mike D'Alessio, Rayner Yokoi (5). Markus Miyashiro, Jared Coloma (5), Peter Arakawa (7) and Wayde Iwanaga. W—Coloma. L—Akamine. S—Arakawa.
Leading hitters—Kailua: Akamine 2-4; Kurt Sasaoka 2-3; Keli'i Klobucar double. Moanalua: Jon Estores triple, 2 RBIs; Jordan Monico 2-3, triple, RBI; Jay Yoshizawa 2-3.
Reach Wes Nakama at email@example.com.