Seniors play to Classic 7-7 tie
• Photo gallery: Sugar Mill baseball
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
WAIPAHU — No one won the 12th annual Sugar Mill Classic Senior All-Star Game yesterday at Hans L'Orange Park. But it doesn't mean no one had fun.
The game between the Grey and Blue ended in a 7-7 tie. Grey tied it in the top of the ninth and held Blue scoreless in the bottom of the inning. There was no extra innings.
"It was good hanging around all these guys," said Grey catcher Lanan Rice-Kashima of Kaua'i High.
Rice-Kashima was one of eight Neighbor Island players who played in the annual game that features recent graduates or high school seniors. The rosters were balanced to ensure that each team had enough position players and pitchers, so it was common to have classmates on opposing teams.
"It was a good opportunity to play with some of the best guys in the state," said Pearl City pitcher Royce Murai, who signed with Long Beach State in November.
Added Punahou outfielder Kainoa Crowell: "It's fun, hanging around here with all the boys. It's fun playing with people you play against during the year."
The Grey stormed to a 3-0 lead in the first against Hawai'i-bound pitcher Kale Ka'alekahi of Campbell. 'Iolani's Jarrett Arakawa, who also signed with the Rainbows, had a two-run single to ignite the inning and Campbell's Michael Memea added a sacrifice fly.
The Grey made it 5-0 in the second on an RBI triple by Roosevelt's Billy Kamau and an RBI double by Punahou's Ka'iana Eldredge.
Blue pulled to 5-3 in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Kapolei's Michael Filio and two-run single by Makua Lani's Joshua Kaiwi against 'Iolani's Sheldon Lee.
Blue tied it in the third with two runs, one in part to errors and the other on an RBI ground out by Saint Louis' Joshua Nakamura.
Blue took a 6-5 lead in the fifth on Filio's RBI triple, only to see Grey tie it in the top of the sixth on Eldredge's RBI triple.
Blue took a 7-6 lead in the sixth on a passed ball, but Grey tied it in the ninth on a throwing error during a steal attempt.
Grey sent Eldredge, who has signed with Kansas, to the mound in the bottom of the ninth. He allowed a one-out walk to Maryknoll's Craig Shoji, who took second a wild pitch and went to third when Nakamura flied out to right. But Punahou's Alaka'i Aglipay grounded out to second to end the game.
The event also featured a home run derby after the game that was won by Konawaena's Dorian Rivera.
Rivera was among three players to advance into the second and final round. Rivera hit six in the finale. Hensley hit one while Crowell had none. Ironically, Crowell led all competitors with 12 in the first round.
The "homers" were based on points. Each got two points for hitting the ball over the fence and one point for hitting it past cones set up inside the playing field near the fence, event organizer Casey Onaga said.
The contestants used wood bats provided by Trinity Bats Hawaii.
"It's not a big adjustment, but it's different," Crowell said. "It's a little heavier. It feels good."
Crowell said he will be attending Washington as an invited walk-on to the baseball program.