Thursday, May 18, 2000
The Knights get defensiveHilo's hard spring By Dave Reardon
to beat the host Bears in first
round of state baseball tournament
WAILUKU -- On a long day full of errors unbefitting meticulously landscaped Iron Maehara Stadium and a state tournament, about 1,000 mostly Baldwin fans saw Castle get defensive.
And that's not a reference to the Knights' reactions about tonight's rematch with rival Kailua.
Yesterday's other first-round winners at the Wally Yonamine Foundation Baseball State Championships were Kapaa, Leilehua and Mililani. But they advanced to today's quarterfinals more with luck and pluck, while Castle relied on hitting, pitching and a novelty yesterday: strong defense at a key juncture.
Today's championship-bracket games in the first state tournament off Oahu since 1974 (when it was also here) match Leilehua (11-3) against No. 2-seed Kamehameha (16-4) at 11:30 a.m., Iolani (15-5) against No. 4 Waiakea (11-1) at 2 p.m., Castle (11-2) against No. 3-seed Kailua (10-2) at 4:30 p.m., and Kapaa (11-3) against No. 1 Molokai (16-1) at 7 p.m.
CASTLE 10, BALDWIN 0: With the Knights nursing a 2-0 lead in the third inning, Anthony Coggins nailed Nolan Wada with a perfect throw from deep right to home. Wada, the Bears' fastest runner, was trying to score from first on a hit-and-run single by Mason Tabata.
"I just saw him rounding the corner and I winged it," Coggins said. "I thought it would get cut."
Later in the game, pitcher Reid Santos picked off Tabata with a quick move to first.
The bad-hands Bears made six errors on their home field. The Knights didn't really need that much help from the hosts, as Santos allowed only five hits, struck out 10 and walked none in a complete-game effort. The left-hander was effective with his fastball, slider, change-up and curve.
When Castle played Kailua on April 12, the Surfriders knocked off the Knights, 5-1. A Paul Collins-David Horswill pitching rematch is likely.
"It's going to be good, but we don't look at it as a revenge game," Coggins said. "Just another game we have to win."
Castle 110 004 4 - 10 13 1 Baldwin 000 000 0 - 0 6 6
Reid Santos and Russell Kimura. Lance Fujii, Nolan Wada (6), Gerard Racadio (7) and Kurt Suzuki. W-Santos. L-Fujii.
Leading hitters-Castle: Colin Kaneshiro 3-5; Santos 2-5, 2 RBIs; Paul Collins 2-2, 3 RBIs; Zachary Wong 2-4. Baldwin: Kurt Suzuki 2-3, 2b.
IOLANI 5, MILILANI 4: Brent Wong hit a bad-hop single past shortstop Cy Donald, scoring Aaron Ing, who had advanced to second on an errant Trojans' pick-off play with the winning run.
Blaine Umeda hit an RBI double and started the ninth-inning rally with a single.
He also pitched one-hit ball over the last 4° innings for the win.
"Blaine clutched up," Iolani coach Dean Yonamine said. "And Brent came up with big hits for us in the '97 and '98 state championships (both of which Iolani won)."
Mililani 202 000 000 - 4 5 1 Iolani 210 010 001 - 5 8 2
Keola Casamina, Gainor Nitta (2), Derek Costigan (7) and Bryce Watanabe Corey Yamamoto, Rich Olsen (3), Blaine Umeda (5) and Travis Matsuda. W-Umeda. L-Costigan.
Leading hitters-Mililani: Keola Sasamina 1-2, 2 RBIs. Iolani: Blaine Umeda 2-2, RBI.
LEILEHUA 8, HILO 1: The Mules captured their first victory in a state tournament game since winning the 1962 final with an 8-5 victory over Farrington at Honolulu Stadium.
Yesterday, Leilehua's Josh Jones had two hits and limited the Vikings to four singles in a complete-game mound effort. He struck out nine and walked two.
Hilo 000 100 0 - 1 5 4 Leilehua 004 040 x - 8 9 0
Chad Castenada, Charles Haasenritter (5) and Calavin Crum. Josh Jones and Jay Baptista. W-Jones. L-Castenada.
Leading hitters-Leilehua: Cheyne Todani 2-3; Josh Jones 2-4; Matt Cabalce 2-2, RBI; B.J.
Clifton 1-3, 2 RBIs.
KAPAA 3, CAMPBELL 2: Kaleo Lopez pitched and hit the Kauai Interscholastic Federation champions to their first championship-bracket win since 1978 -- which was also the year the Sabers won their only state championship.
But Campbell was far from title-caliber yesterday, with eight errors.
Kapaa made mistakes, too -- on the basepaths. The Warriors were picked off or caught stealing four times.
Lopez, who pitched a four-hitter, drove in two runs, with a double and a game-winning fly to left that fell in because the Sabers had pulled their outfielders in with the bases loaded and none out in the seventh inning.
Lopez struck out nine and walked two.
"My two-seam fastball wasn't working that well, so I went to the four-seam and that was more comfortable," the left-hander said.
Campbell 000 020 0 - 2 4 8 Kapaa 000 101 1 - 3 7 0
Eddie Tangian, Jensen Mata (6), Sabino Aguinaldo (7) and Michael Cabral. Kaleo Lopez and Robert Merkel. W-Lopez. L-Mata.
Leading hitters-Kapaa: Kaleo Lopez 2-4, double, 2 RBIs.
Hilos hard springDave Reardon
WAILUKU -- The official records will say Hilo's quest for the state baseball championship ended yesterday, on a long, dusty afternoon at Iron Maehara Stadium against Leilehua in an 8-1 first round game.
But the Vikings' season actually faded to black over the past month, amid bewilderment, 3 a.m. graveyard tears and delayed shock -- all stemming from the unanswerable question of why death sometimes chooses the young and good.
The Hilo players don't understand why their best player and cherished friend, Sheldon Kamohai, 17, died on the morning of April 14. The cause has yet to be determined; the reason never will.
Coach Buzzy Capellas does his best to explain life and death to his players, but, "I have to tell them, 'Coach is 60, and I don't have all the answers.' "
At first, with support from the entire school, and indeed, the entire Big Island, the Vikings rallied around the idea of winning for Sheldon. The day before Kamohai's funeral service, Hilo beat Hawaii Prep, 9-0, clinching a state tournament berth.
Nathan Grogg hit a homer in that game.
"I did everything but point to the sky when I batted," Grogg said. "I gave the ball to Sheldon's dad, and wrote the family a letter."
Kamohai was the team's best hitter and pitcher, as well as the guy who pumped up his teammates and kept them loose.
"We try not to dwell on it during games, but you see it, we miss him," Kaine Charlston said. "One man doesn't make a team, but one man can keep a team together."
The team leaned heavily on the coach for emotional support, which he veteran gladly gave.
But the reality of Kamohai's absence sank in. Hilo lost the BIIF title by falling twice to Waiakea.
"We just never bounced back," Capellas said.
Grogg looks to a positive future: "We will always do our best to represent Hilo. It's a tradition for Hilo to win in baseball. We'll win for coach, Sheldon, and everyone else."