HIGH SCOOL BASEBALL
Punahou up to No. 1 in Star-Bulletin baseball poll
A week ago, defending state champion Punahou didn't have a single first-place vote in the Star-Bulletin Baseball Top 10.
In fact, three teams collected No. 1 votes, while Punahou quietly, diligently worked hard at practice. This week, after an 8-4 win over then-No. 1 Iolani, the Buffanblu are at the top again.
Coaches and media gave Punahou 13 of 16 first-place votes in today's Top 10. Iolani picked up two No. 1 votes, and Waianae garnered a first-place vote for the first time this season.
The Seariders are an intriguing mix of size, speed and strength. With Ande Kuakini at catcher, hard-hitting Barak Holt at second base, Nathan Malaki at shortstop and Josh Telles in center field, they are solid up the middle.
Their most dominating player, however, isn't necessarily their biggest in stature. Darius Fuller packs a wallop at the plate and delivers fastballs with tremendous location.
"The majority of the time, his fastball is live," Waianae coach Kekoa Kaluhiokalani said. "For a little guy, he can throw the ball. He plays much bigger than his size."
Fuller is 3-0 in league play, including an 11-strikeout, no-walk three-hitter against Radford last week.
The Seariders arrived at Radford and warmed up with a silent, focused confidence. Even the pregame dugout was nearly still, every player seated and loathe to make small talk.
"We really try to prepare each other before a practice, before a game," Kaluhiokalani said. "We don't want to let the next guy down."