ILH teams reach state baseball title game
By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Brandon Masuoka
WAILUKU, Maui — It will be an Interscholastic League of Honolulu state baseball final as Kamehameha defeated Waiakea, 17-11, in a semifinal last night at Iron Maehara Stadium.
Kamehameha, the ILH champion and No. 2 seed, will play ILH runner-up Punahou for the fourth time in two weeks, this time for the state title tonight at 8.
Punahou defeated Castle, 5-2, in the other semifinal.
Last night's wild game lasted 2 hours, 50 minutes and featured 25 hits and 12 errors, including six by Waiakea.
"We hit the ball real well tonight," said Kamehameha coach Vern Ramie. "One thing we didn't do is take care of the ball defensively.
"We need to play a lot better defense against Punahou."
Kamehameha scored three runs in the top of the first inning on Aaron Nichols' leadoff home run, and RBI groundouts by Stuart Kam and Makana Kitamura.
Waiakea responded with four runs in the bottom of the first inning on Jarom Lee's two-run single and Rory Inouye's two-run fielder's choice.
Waiakea added a run in the second inning on a walk, Scott Ichinotsubo's single and two errors for a 5-3 lead.
Kamehameha regained a 6-5 lead scoring three runs in the third inning on Waylen Sing Chow's run-scoring single and Ed Dun's two-run home run to left field.
Waiakea tied the score at 6 in the bottom of the third inning when it loaded the bases on Jensen Sato's leadoff double, a hit batsman and Lee's single. Sato scored on Kekoa Yockman's groundout, but Kamehameha relief pitcher Chris Pascual got an infield fly and a groundout to end the threat.
Kamehameha went ahead 10-6 with four runs in the fourth inning on an error, Sing Chow's RBI single and Kam's two-run double, and added two more runs in the fifth on an error and Nichols' RBI groundout.
Waiakea cut the deficit to 12-10 with four runs in the sixth inning on Ichinotsubo's run-scoring grounder, an error, Lee's RBI groundout and Yockman's RBI single. But Kamehameha put the game away with five runs in the seventh highlighted by Michael Kauweloa's two-run single and Kam's inside-the-park two-run home run.
Kamehameha — tied for fourth in the ILH regular season at 5-7 — defeated Punahou three times last week to win the ILH title and earn the first-round bye in the state tournament.
PUNAHOU 5, CASTLE 2
A bit of luck and some gritty pitching from starter Scott Hiramoto moved two-time defending state champion Punahou one victory closer to winning its unprecedented ninth state baseball title last night.
Punahou took advantage of two Castle errors in a four-run second inning, and Hiramoto and Harrison "Jeeter" Ishida combined to strand 10 Castle baserunners in a 5-2 semifinal victory in the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA Baseball State Championship at Iron Maehara Stadium.
The Buffanblu advanced to the finals despite being outhit by Castle, 9-4, and will play Kamehameha in the championship game tonight at 8.
"This is what we've been working for all season; it's all on the line," said Hiramoto, who earned the victory, allowing two runs on eight hits and one walk with five strikeouts.
"We're just lucky to live another day," Punahou coach Eric Kadooka said. "We got out to a four-run lead, and Scott made good pitches in key situations. Castle battled us the whole way."
Punahou scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning.
Steven Dannaway reached on an error to start the inning, and Ishida walked. Paul Snieder's sacrifice bunt was fielded by third baseman Dallas Olsen and thrown wide of first base, allowing both runners to score and Snieder to take third. Zachary Kometani followed with a run-scoring single and was lifted for courtesy runner Evan Bisho, who moved to third on a groundout and a single by Daniel Cho. Bisho scored on Maika Murashige's groundout.
"We made a couple of mistakes early on, but we fought back," said Castle coach Joseph Tom, who team upset top-seeded 'Aiea, 2-0, in the quarterfinals, and beat Maui, 1-0, on Royce Diaz's no-hitter. "Our boys battled hard. I'm proud of them."
In the top of the third inning, Castle loaded the bases with two outs, but Hiramoto struck out the next batter to end the threat.
In the top of the fourth, the Knights had a runner on third with one out, but Hiramoto fanned the next two batters.
Castle cut the lead to 4-2 with two runs in the top of the fifth inning. Kyle Kaneholo and Brandon Kon each singled to start the inning. After Kaneholo was forced out at third on David Mohika's fielder's choice, and Kon moved to second, Lyle Kitagawa hit a run-scoring single. Mohika stole third, and one out later, scored on Corey Paredes' RBI single.
The Buffanblu made it 5-2 in the sixth inning when pinch runner Kimo Maukala scored on a throwing error by the second baseman.
Ishida took over in the sixth inning and allowed one hit and one walk. He struck out four.
Last year, Punahou defeated Kailua, 3-1, in the state final to win its record-tying eighth state baseball title. Iolani has also won eight titles, the last in 1998.
Castle assistant coach Brent Taniguchi, who collapsed on the field minutes before Thursday's first-round game against Maui at Maui High School, was flown to The Queen's Medical Center from Maui Memorial Medical Center yesterday morning, Tom said. Taniguchi will undergo tests at Queen's, Tom said. "From what I understand, he's doing well," Tom said. "Our thoughts are with him, and we're praying for him."
Waimea 2, Moanalua 1: Max Agor's two-out double in the bottom of the seventh inning scored Keith Nonaka from first base with the winning run at Maui High School.
KAILUA 6, MAUI 0: Junior righthander Kili Vierra fired a two-hitter, and Patrick Murphy and Kurt Sasaki each had two hits as Kailua beat Maui at Maui High School. Vierra struck out eight batters and walked none.
BALDWIN 4, KAISER 1: Shaun Shima hit a two-run home run, and senior righthander Kalehua Moniz pitched a two-hitter and went 2 for 3 at the plate as Baldwin defeated Kaiser at Iron Maehara Stadium.
KS-HAWAI'I 4, 'AIEA 3: Aaron Correa went 2 for 2 with an RBI as Kamehameha-Hawai'i held off 'Aiea at Iron Maehara Stadium. 'Aiea's Ryan Murakami hit a home run and drove in two runs.
Reach Brandon Masuoka at email@example.com.