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Wednesday, April 30, 2003



[ HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS ]



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GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Punahou pitcher Shaun Kiriu made his delivery against Iolani yesterday at Ala Wai Field. The Buffanblu beat the Raiders 15-3 in five innings.




Punahou batters Iolani

The Buffanblu pound out
16 hits in a 15-3 rout
of the Raiders


The field of play was a baseball diamond, but it may as well have been a pinball machine.

Punahou singled Iolani to death and finished off the Raiders 15-3 in five innings last night in the second round of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu baseball tournament at Ala Wai Field.

Balls were bouncing off gloves and bodies, taking bad hops off the dirt and finding holes to scoot through. All that was missing was the typical pinball lights and music as the Buffanblu collected 16 hits and were aided by six Raiders errors.

"I'm happy it doesn't count as two losses, because it should have counted as two losses, the licking we took," Iolani catcher Kala Ka'aihue said.

Ka'aihue, who signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Hawaii and is also a strong Major League Baseball draft prospect, hit a memorable 400-foot home run over the left-field fence to produce two of Iolani's three runs.

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GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Punahou's Justin Ariki rounded second base last night. He went on to score on an Iolani error.




"I've never seen a ball hit like that at this field before," Punahou coach Eric Kadooka said. "I don't think I've ever seen a ball hit over the left-field fence here."

The towering third-inning blast was Iolani's only bright spot, and even though it was a shortened game, it was a mighty long night for the Raiders.

"The better team won tonight and that's all that needs to be said," Iolani coach Dean Yonamine said.

With the win, Punahou (12-4) may have asserted itself as the top contender for the tournament title and the league's second state berth. Kamehameha (14-3) clinched the first berth by winning the ILH regular season. The Buffanblu meet the Warriors tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at Ala Wai Field.

"We put the ball in play and were aggressive. That's baseball," Kadooka said. "That's all we were trying to do. We didn't play as well as we should have in the (league's) first round, but there's been a change of attitude. The kids are toughened up and it shows."

The Buffanblu took a 4-1 lead in the second inning, thanks in part to three Raiders errors and Kasey Ko's infield RBI hit.

Run-scoring singles by Kaohi Downing, Shaun Kiriu, Justin Ariki and Michael Kim keyed a five-run third inning as Punahou went up 9-1.

Kim drove in two runs on a bad-hop single over second base to spark a four-run, fourth-inning surge that led to a commanding 13-3 bulge.

The hitting barrage continued in the two-run fifth, spearheaded by pinch hitter Bucky Aona who drove in a run with a line-drive single to right.

Kiriu was the winning pitcher, fanning five in 4 2/3 innings. He was lifted with two outs in the fifth after walking two batters, but Tyler Togikawa got Bert Mitsunaga on strikes to end the game.

"Shaun is one of our main starters and he has thrown well this season," Kadooka said. "Tonight, he probably threw his best game of the season."

Freshman Wally Marciel, the first of four Iolani pitchers, took the loss. He has been effective for the Raiders throughout most of the season, but gave up nine runs -- three earned -- in two-plus innings.

Iolani (12-4) plays Mid-Pacific (8-7-1) today at 3:45 p.m. at Ala Wai Field.



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