Quick start propels Waimea into finals Aglipay's pitching, hitting lift Buffanblu past Mid-Pacific, 4-1
• Photo gallery: State Division II baseball semifinals
By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer
The Waimea High baseball team sure knows how to get the party started ... and put the early damper on its opponents' spirits.
The Menehunes scored seven runs over the first two innings, including two homers in the first, to beat St. Anthony, 9-2, in the semifinals of the Wally Yonamine Foundation Baseball State Division II Championships yesterday at Hans L'Orange Park.
Waimea, the Kaua'i Interscholastic Federation champion and No. 3 seed, will face Kamehameha-Hawai'i, which beat Hawai'i Prep 7-5 in last night's second semifinal, for the title tonight at 7.
"As a team we set goals and we want to climb the ladder one step at a time," said Waimea coach Michael Rita. "We just got to go out tomorrow and be ready to play."
In the bottom of the first inning against St. Anthony, Mana Perreira-Alquiza led off with a homer to left.
"It was a fastball right down the pipe. I was just trying for a base hit, but it went over," said Perreira-Alquiza, a junior second baseman.
After a groundout, Gavin Jardin and Paul Correa drew walks ahead of Micah Rita's two-run triple to left for a 3-0 lead. Shylen Keuma followed with a two-run homer to left.
"All season long we've been doing that in the first inning. It starts off with Mana. He's hitting the ball hard," said Michael Rita, the coach.
The Menehunes made it 7-0 in the second on bases-loaded walks to Keuma and Dylan Ishihara.
On Thursday, Waimea accomplished the same feat — seven runs over the first two innings — en route to a 12-5 victory over Waipahu.
On the mound, Waimea relied on Keuma and Kalani Fernandez, a pair of right-handers working extended innings for the second consecutive day.
They allowed five hits and struck out six.
"Those two guys all season long have been doing it. They don't mind throwing a lot of pitches," Michael Rita said of Keuma and Fernandez.
Keuma, who pitched four-plus innings against Waipahu, threw 63 pitches over four-plus innings yesterday against the Trojans. He allowed four hits and two runs with two strikeouts for the victory.
Keuma said his arm "feels good," and added: "Our next goal is to win the championship."
St. Anthony, the Maui Interscholastic League champion and No. 2 seed, cut its deficit to 7-2 in the fifth on Jordan Hansen's RBI double to left and Kekoa Keau's run-scoring single to deep shortstop.
Waimea's Fernandez, who started in center field, pitched the final three innings for the save. He also pitched the final three innings for the save the previous day against Waipahu.
"It looks like they messed up on the seedings. They probably should have been the No. 1 seed coming into this tournament," said St. Anthony coach George Stinger. "They have some great pitching, some great coaching and swung the bats real good."
Waimea (12-2) added a run in the fifth against St. Anthony (9-2) on a two-out RBI single by Fernandez to make it 8-2.
Fernandez walked the bases loaded in the sixth with one out, but got a fly out and strikeout to escape damage.
In the sixth, the Menehunes scored a run on a throwing error by the shortstop.
ST. ANTHONY (9-2) 000 020 0—2 5 4
WAIMEA (12-2) 520 011 X—9 10 2
Rory Racadio, Trevor Ventura (1), Alika Ham Deponte (6) and Taylor Silva. Shylen Keuma, Kalani Fernandez (5) and Dylan Ishihara. W—Keuma. L—Racadio. S—Fernandez.
Leading hitters—St. Anthony: Jordan Hansen double. Waimea: Mana Perreira-Alquiza 3-5, solo homer; Gavin Jardin 2-3, 2 runs; Paul Correa 2 runs; Micah Rita 2-2, triple, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Keuma 2-run homer.
KAMEHAMEHA-HAWAI'I 7, HAWAI'I PREP 5
The all-Big Island Interscholastic Federation semifinal showdown went to Kamehameha-Hawai'i.
Maverick Kang pitched a seven-hitter with one walk and 10 strikeouts as the Warriors beat league rival Ka Makani.
"From the beginning I had my curveball working pretty good. My fastball was OK," said Kang, a senior right-hander. "At the end I just had to pull through."
Kang allowed two runs in the seventh, and had a runner at third with two outs. He got a called third strike to end it.
"That was the best performance he ever had and it came at the right time," said Kamehameha-Hawai'i coach Andrew Correa.
Taylor Allen Goo singled in Jayce Carvalho to make it 3-2 in favor of the Warriors in the third.An out later, Gideon Kalili doubled in Goo.
Kamehameha-Hawai'i, the BIIF champion, added single runs in the fourth and fifth to go up 6-2.
Every spot in the Warriors' order had a hit by the fifth.
Hawai'i Prep, the BIIF's No. 3 team, scored in the fifth on Matthew Kiyota's RBI single.
Ka Makani had the potential tying run at the plate and no outs in the sixth, but Kang got a pair of strikeouts and a fly out to left to escape unscathed.
In the seventh, Kamehameha-Hawai'i (12-3) scored on Adam Andrade's RBI single to go up 7-3.
"The good thing was we tacked on runs every inning just to give us some distance, so we could have that hiccup at the end," Correa said.
Kamehameha-Hawai'i beat Hawai' Prep (8-6) in all three meetings this season.
"This is the third time we've played them, so we are familiar with them and they're familiar with us," Correa said.
KS-HAWAI'I (8-6) 112 110 1—7 11 3
HAWAI'I PREP (12-3) 110 010 2—5 7 3
Maverick Kang and Gideon Kalili. Jesse Alvord, Ryan Rice (5) and Matthew Kiyota. W—Kang. L—Alvord.
Leading hitters—KS-Hawai'i: Jayce Carvalho 2 runs; Kalili 2-4, double, 2 RBIs; Adam Andrade 2-3; Nainoa Hart double. Hawai'i Prep: Isaiah Adams 2-4, 2 runs; Alvord 2-3, triple.