Silent night, perfect night
By Stanley Lee
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stanley Lee
It could have been a night of memories at the junior prom.
Glenn Goya opted to play baseball instead, and etched his name into local sports history.
Goya is the only pitcher to throw a perfect game in the state high school baseball championship game. On the night of April 29, 1972, the Punahou junior retired all 27 Saint Louis batters to help Punahou to a 5-0 win for the state title in front of 2,500 at Honolulu Stadium.
Before the team stormed the field in celebration, everyone remained mum and on edge, afraid any mention would jinx the run at perfection.
"They (teammates) wouldn't talk to me, they wouldn't come close to me," said Goya, now 53 and a vice president at First Hawaiian Bank and manager of its Manoa branch. "My pitching coach, Jim Doole, he was the dean of the class and he wasn't going to be at the game (because of the junior class prom).
"He showed up in coat and tie. He was in the back of the dugout and he didn't even say a word to me. But he stayed the whole game. I knew something was going on and focused on being calm and trying to throw strikes. That's all I focused on."
Not overpowering, Goya had a nice curveball and was the ace of the Punahou pitching staff. He was a left-handed pitcher, but batted right after switch-hitting as a kid. He also played first base.
"He was marvelous, not overpowering, but great control," said Doug Bennett, Punahou's coach at the time. "You knew when he was on the mound, he was going to challenge you. He didn't walk a lot, didn't strike out a lot, but he had a great control. He'll get a fastball by you, more controlling of corners, good off speed."
Punahou had won the Interscholastic League of Honolulu title that season while Saint Louis was the ILH runner-up, setting up a prime rematch for the state title.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the fifth inning. Alan Yamashiro scored on Kerry Komatsubara's grounder that was thrown wide of first base by shortstop Eric Texidor. Jay Higgins then scored on a wild pitch by Mike Gipaya to make it 2-0.
Punahou added another run in the sixth and two more in the seventh to make it 5-0. Games were nine innings then, and Bennett noticed people behaving strangely around the seventh inning.
"People are very superstitious," Bennett said. "I kind of noticed certain people weren't moving, doing the same thing in the dugout. It was a bit eerie.
"I went up to manager Willy Kawashima and he said 'nobody got on base in this game.' He kind of let it out of the bag that way. He didn't say he was throwing a perfect game. That's when you got two and two together."
Catcher Mike Moss was a senior when he caught Goya's only perfect game.
"Back in those days, the catcher and pitcher called the game together," said Moss, now 53 and a financial advisor. "They didn't look over at the coach. Glenn and I had a fun time with that.
"I'd call a breaking ball in any situation and have confidence Glenn would throw it for a strike."
The two even had a game plan for the championship game. Moss would call for a particular pitch and Goya would pretend to shake him off, in case his pitches were being tracked. Goya isn't sure if it ever worked.
"I had all my trust in Mike," Goya said. "He was smart, he knew the hitters well from the opposing team, he knew what to pitch to batters and of course, he knew what pitches to call and where to locate his glove as far as targets."
FINISHING IT OFF
Goya and Moss realized the makings of a perfect game around the seventh. But Goya just focused on throwing strikes like he had the entire game. He threw first-pitch strikes to the first 19 batters.
"He pretty much stuck with it, to fight the urge to be conservative," Moss said. "From my standpoint, he tried to stick with what we're doing."
Meanwhile, the rest of the Punahou squad made outstanding plays to keep Saint Louis off the bases.
Mosi Tatupu, before he starred in the NFL, made a diving catch in right field and Earl Nakaya caught a ball near the outfield wall.
"They were on their toes because I believe they knew what was happening, too," Goya said. "There were several great plays. I remember a groundball that was hit by me and the shortstop was Alan Yamashiro. He gloved it and threw the guy out."
In the bottom of the ninth, Goya threw out Vernon Yoro for the first out. Goya then got behind on a 3-1 count to Barry Gipaya.
"The (next) pitch was kind of on the outside," Goya said. "I thought it was a ball, but the batter fouled it out (to first baseman Benet Ekhammer)."
Goya struck out Dave Nakahara to end the game and the team charged the mound.
"I was in shock because I realized it was a perfect game," Goya said. "I just couldn't believe what had happened."
Bennett still has a lasting impression of the perfect game —his ear got cleated (they wore steel cleats then), leaving a dent.
"That's not a lot of pain to bear considering the reward," Bennett said.
Goya's perfect game was mentioned in the June 5, 1972 issue of Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd feature. Bennett had submitted Goya's name.
Goya repeated as the ILH's most valuable player in his senior year. Punahou lost the state title game to 'Aiea, led by senior Gerald Ako and a freshman named Derek Tatsuno, who was recently inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
Goya went on to play at Colorado State, but ended up playing first base. He led the Rams in batting all four years and led the nation in batting and slugging as a senior, earning first team All-America honors in 1977. That same year, Tatsuno led the nation in strikeouts as a University of Hawai'i freshman.
"We had an excellent relationship even though he was an opponent," said Moss, who played for Western Athletic Conference rival Brigham Young and was a third team All-American with Goya in 1975. "It gave me a great deal of pride that he was having a successful year."
Goya set 14 individual records for Colorado State in his senior year and was awarded the school's Nye Trophy for outstanding senior athlete. He was drafted in the ninth round that spring by the San Francisco Giants.
Goya spent two years playing for the Giants' A teams in Montana and California before returning to Hawai'i.
"That was a great thrill," Goya said of playing professionally. "Through college, there was talk of me getting an opportunity, whether it would happen or not. Everybody was hoping that I'd get an opportunity. When it happened, I was thrilled."
In 1999, Goya was inducted into the Colorado State Athletic Hall of Fame. Bennett, who spent 32 years at Punahou as a coach, teacher and athletic director, hopes to get Goya into Punahou's athletic hall. He can't think of a better nominee who, along with his teammates, created "one of those rare occasions" that is Bennett's fondest coaching memory.
"Whatever work you put into something, it's going to provide results," Goya said. "There was a lot of effort that went in through Little League, PAL (Police Activities League) League, Babe Ruth, American Legion ... seems like all I did was a lot of pitching at different levels. It helped me to focus and playing in that big game."
The Advertiser is beginning a summertime feature, looking back at some of the more memorable events and teams that still hold a place in Hawai'i high school lore. If you have a suggestion, e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org