HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
Buffanblu put down Wolfpack
Against the two-time defending state champions, all it takes is a couple of defensive lapses to let a game get out of control.
Such was the case yesterday, as No. 2 Punahou defeated No. 6 Pac-Five 9-1 at Aloha Stadium by capitalizing on key defensive gaffes early by the Wolfpack and adding an offensive punch late.
Pac-Five (9-2, 1-2 Interscholastic League of Honolulu), dropped its second game in a row after winning its first nine of the season, while the champs rebounded from a 12th-inning loss last week to rival Iolani.
The Buffanblu (8-3, 2-1 ILH) got a solid pitching performance from Scott Hiramoto, who threw a two-hitter with a pair of strikeouts in a complete game. He also drove in two runs.
But this game was about the Wolfpack inflicting as much damage to themselves as the Buffanblu did.
The Wolfpack put themselves in a hole in the first inning when Punahou's first two batters, Maika Murashige and Matt Suiter, drew walks. They advanced to third and second on a passed ball. Bucky Aona followed by hitting the ball up the middle. The throw to first base sailed high and both baserunners scored. Hiramoto drove in Aona two batters later.
Wolfpack coach Todd Koishigawa believed his up-and-coming team's experience was not a factor in facing the tested Buffanblu squad -- each starter on his team is a returnee.
"It's a long (ILH) season, and we're only three games into it," he said. "We gotta throw strikes, we gotta play defense. The things to win a ballgame we just didn't do."
The game broke wide open in the fifth inning when two more mistakes by Pac-Five allowed things to slip away.
Murashige hit an RBI double to deep left and two batters later, attempted to steal third base. The throw went over Murashige's head as he dove for the bag, and the ball rolled down the baseline into the outfield. He took the opportunity to run in for a score, and Suiter, who had drawn a walk to get on, stole third on the play. On the next pitch, he ran home on a passed ball to make it 6-1, Punahou.
Punahou coach Eric Kadooka gave credit to Pac-Five's starting pitcher, Peter Kirst, who held the Buffanblu to one hit until Murashige's double in the fifth.
"In this league, you've gotta hang in there. You're going to face a good pitcher like that. We were just lucky to get a couple runs at the end," said Kadooka. "He got ahead of us, and was shutting us down. Maybe that's where some of the experience comes in; when one part of our team is down, another part rises a little bit."
That part might have been Hiramoto, who never allowed the Wolfpack to get going offensively. He regularly forced Pac-Five into ground balls and pop flies, and his teammates were able to capitalize with double plays in the fourth and sixth innings.
"I felt pretty good today," Hiramoto said. "They hit a lot of balls hard, but our defense came through most of the time, getting the ball on the ground, getting double plays."
"Just another great outing from him, another good senior performance," Kadooka said.
Punahou's Harrison Ishida added a solo home run just over the left-field fence in the sixth, and Zach Kometani and Hiramoto added an RBI apiece in the seventh for the final score.
Scott Hiramoto and Zach Kometani. Peter Kirst, Ryan Demello (6), Tyler Simao (7) and Aaron Chilcote, Josh Gelson (7). W--Hiramoto. L--Kirst.
Leading hitters--Pun: Scott Hiramoto 2 RBI; Matt Suiter 2 runs; Harrison Ishida solo HR; Maika Murashige 2b; Bucky Aona 2b.
Radford 14, Waialua 0
Michael Goodman struck out 14 batters as the Rams shut out the Bulldogs. Wes McCormick rapped out two hits, including a double for the Rams.
At Radford H.S. field
Joshua Whittaker , Daniel Hollembaek (3) and Jacob Valmoja. Michael Goodman and Zachery Seitz. W--Goodman. L--Hollembaek.
Leading hitters--Rad: Justin Lord 2-4; Zachary Brisley 2-3; Wes McCormick 2-4, 2b.
Aiea 7, Kapolei 2
Leilehua 14, Waipahu 1