Aglipay's pitching, hitting lift Buffanblu past Mid-Pacific, 4-1 Quick start propels Waimea into finals
Pearl City, Kailua to meet for 5th
Bears right at home in advancing to first final since 1995
• Photo gallery: State Division II baseball semifinals
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
WAILUKU, Maui — Alaka'i Aglipay scattered seven hits with five strikeouts and went 2 for 4 with two RBIs last night to help Punahou defeat Mid-Pacific 4-1 and return to its seventh straight Wally Yonamine Foundation Baseball title game.
The six-time defending champion Buffanblu improved to 14-5-1 in the regular and postseason and will face No. 3 seed and Maui Interscholastic League champion Baldwin (15-1) in today's 7 p.m. title game at Iron Maehara Stadium.
The game will be televised live statewide on OC-16.
"It's a great feeling," said Aglipay, a senior right-hander and four-year letterman. "We struggled all year but we never gave up. The team got behind each other and pulled together. That's definitely what Punahou baseball is all about."
The Buffanblu took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Michael Suiter singled to center, advanced to second on Kaiana Eldredge's sacrifice bunt, took third on Kainoa Crowell's single to right, and scored on Aglipay's groundout to second.
They made it 2-0 in the third when Crowell reached on an infield single, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Aglipay's single.
Punahou then went up 3-0 in the fourth when Reece Toma led off with a single to left, advanced to second on Jeremy Ioane's sacrifice bunt, went to third on Ryan Yamane's single and scored on Suiter's squeeze bunt.
Punahou made it 4-0 in the sixth when Brent Fukushima led off with a single to left, advanced to second on Toma's sacrifice bunt and scored on Yamane's single to right.
"We just needed to keep scoring runs one at a time," Aglipay said. "I had trust in my defense that that would be enough."
The Owls (16-5) finally broke through with two outs in the seventh, when Justin Protacio walked, stole second, advanced to third on Nik Alarcio's single to center and scored on Ryan Muraoka's single to right.
But Aglipay — who used an effective curve ball all night — got the next batter on a grounder to second to end the game.
"The kid is just clutch," Buffanblu coach Eric Kadooka said. "He had the ability to throw strikes early in the count and get them to hit his pitches."
MPI stranded nine runners, including three in the first inning and two each in the third, sixth and seventh.
"We had our chances, but we didn't always do the smart thing," Owls coach Dunn Muramaru said. "At least we hung in there and didn't crack, we gave ourselves an opportunity at the end. But they beat us fair and square."
PUNAHOU (14-5-1) 101 101 0 — 4 11 0
MID-PACIFIC (16-5) 000 000 1 — 1 7 0
Alaka'i Aglipay and Kaiana Eldredge. Marcus Doi, Lawrence Chew (4) and Dane Fujinaka. W — Aglipay. L — Doi.
Leading hitters — Punahou: Aglipay 2-4, 2 RBIs; Michael Suiter 2-3, RBI; Ryan Yamane 2-3, RBI; Reece Toma 2-2; Kainoa Crowell 2-4. Mid-Pacific: Ryan Muraoka 2-4, double, RBI; Nik Alarcio 2-4.
Read his blog on high school sports at http://preptalk.honadvblogs.com.