Punahou wins third baseball title in a row
By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Brandon Masuoka
WAILUKU, Maui — Punahou defeated a familar foe, and celebrated its third consecutive state baseball title and record ninth overall crown last night at Iron Maehara Stadium.
Matt Suiter's sacrifice fly scored Maika Murashige with the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning as Punahou defeated Kamehameha, 4-3, in the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA Baseball State Championship.
In the top of the ninth, Kamehameha pitcher Waylen Sing Chow fielded Murashige's leadoff bunt, but threw high over first base, allowing Murashige to take third. Suiter then followed with his run-scoring sacrifice fly to center.
"I knew I had to hit a popfly or get a ground ball up the middle," Suiter said. "As soon as I hit it, I knew he was going to score. It was a great feeling."
Kamehameha — which was 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.
"I can't believe this is happening," Punahou coach Eric Kadooka said. "Someone needs to pinch me."
Murashige's near-perfect bunt made up for a tough night at the plate for the senior second baseman.
"I wasn't hitting the ball too well today," said Murashige, who went 0 for 4 and was hit by a pitch. "I just wanted to find a way to get on. I put it down pretty good, close to the line, and it was about as best as I could do it right there."
"It's a play we make 9 out of 10 times, but this time we didn't make it," Kamehameha coach Vern Ramie said. "But the bottom line, I'm just very proud of our guys. We got down and fought our way back."
Punahou scored two runs off Kamehameha starter John Worthington in the top of the first inning. Murashige was hit by a pitch and took second on a sacrifice bunt. Christian "Bucky" Aona single to right field, and Murashige scored when the right fielder bobbled the ball. After Steven Dannaway doubled to put runners on second and third, Harrison "Jeeter" Ishida hit a run-scoring groundout.
The Buffanblu took a 3-0 lead in the third inning. Suiter singled to lead off, stole second, advanced to third on an errant throw by the catcher, and scored on Aona's groundout.
Kamehameha scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth to close to 3-2. Mitchell Kauweloa hit a leadoff single and Stuart Kam walked. After both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt, Makana Kitamura ripped a two-run triple to right field. Carl Graves replaced Ishida, and struck out the next batter looking, and got a flyout to right field.
Kamehameha tied the score at 3 in the sixth inning. Kam drew a leadoff walk, and was replaced by courtesy runner Tyler Hee. After Ed Dun was hit by a pitch and lifted for pinch-runner Keoni Lum, Paul Snieder replaced Graves on the mound and inherited a 2-0 count on Kitamura, who walked to load the bases. Keahi Piiohia followed with a fielder's choice that forced Kitamura out at second, scored Hee and advanced Lum to third. But Vance Nobriga missed a squeeze bunt and Lum was tagged out at third. Nobriga then grounded out.
WAIAKEA 7, CASTLE 5
Kekoa Yockman hit a three-run double and Waiakea preserved a two-run lead with a triple play in the third inning to defeat Castle.
The game was shortened to five innings because of a two-hour time limit.
"Everyone worked hard for it," Waiakea shortstop Scott Ichinotsubo said. "Castle gave us some good competition for it. It feels good to win third (place) two times in a row."
The Warriors scored four runs in the top of the first inning on Brian Simeona's run-scoring single, Yockman's groundout and a two-run error.
Waiakea made it 7-0 in the second inning on Yockman's bases-clearing double to left-center field. On the play, left fielder David Mohika and center fielder Corey Paredes collided, and Mohika was carted off the field with a cut to one of his ankles when he was accidentally "cleated" by Paredes.
KS-HAWAI'I 7, BALDWIN 5
The Warriors of the Big Island scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to rally past the Bears of Maui in a game shortened to five innings because of a two-hour time limit.
Reece Alnas went 2 for 3, including a double and RBI for the Warriors. Kolten Wong went 2 for 2.
Baldwin scored five runs in the top of the fourth to take a 5-4 lead.
KAILUA 9, WAIMEA 8
Kelii Klobucar's run-scoring single in the top of the fourth inning snapped an 8-all tie as Kailua defeated Waimea in the consolation title game shortened to five innings because of a two-hour time limit.
Klobucar went 2 for 4 with three RBIs, and Kurt Sasaoka and Aaron Kunioka each added three hits for Kailua. Waimea's Isaac Castillo hit a home run and drove in two runs.
CHAMPIONSHIP — PUNAHOU 4, KAMEHAMEHA 3 (9 INNINGS)
THIRD PLACE — WAIAKEA 7,
CASTLE, 5 (5 INNINGS, TIME LIMIT)
Fifth place — Kamehameha-Hawai'i 7, Baldwin 5 (5 innings, time limit)
Consolation — Kailua 9, Waimea 8, (5 innings, time limit)
Reach Brandon Masuoka at firstname.lastname@example.org.