HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
Fundamentals put Owls in front of Warriors
It's all about the little things when Mid-Pacific takes the baseball field, and the Owls did most of them right yesterday in a 6-0 Interscholastic League of Honolulu victory over Kamehameha at Aloha Stadium.
A prime example was leadoff hitter Chad Takabuki's RBI bunt single with two outs in the fourth inning to give MPI a 4-0 lead.
"He saw the third baseman playing back, so he bunted," said Owls coach Dunn Muramaru, who confirmed that he didn't flash the bunt sign. "He's a smart ballplayer."
Takabuki, a three-year starter and one of three Mid-Pacific captains, placed a slow roller just inside the third-base line as Russell Doi, who tripled to right field earlier, easily scored.
"Every time at bat, I look at the third baseman and see if I can find things out," said Takabuki, who was also successful with a surprise bunt hit last season. "I scan the field to see what's open."
Left-handers Rick Goto and Austin Sloan scattered seven Warriors hits as the Owls improved to 6-3 in the ILH, two games behind first-place Iolani (9-2). Punahou (7-2), which played Saint Louis in the stadium's late game, was trying to move within a half-game of the Raiders.
It looked like Kamehameha (3-7) was going to explode offensively in the first inning, as the first three batters singled. But leadoff hitter Aaron Nichols was pegged out by right fielder Alan Sunada trying to go from first to third on Makana Kitamura's hit, and the threat ended when MPI turned a double play on Edward Dun's grounder to third.
"That was my mistake," said Nichols, a senior who was a Star-Bulletin All-State wide receiver in football. "I had my head down. I was trying to make a play for the team. We put some hits together early, but couldn't capitalize."
Kamehameha coach Vern Ramie said Nichols "ran through a stop sign."
"It was a close play. I thought he was in there, but my opinion doesn't count," Ramie added.
The Warriors, who stranded eight runners, made another offensive mistake in the third with one out. With Kitamura in the process of stealing second, Mitchell Kauweloa went down swinging and interfered with MPI catcher Aaron Fujiki, which made Kitamura an inning-ending automatic out.
"We hit the ball OK, but ran ourselves out of a couple of innings," Ramie said. "We couldn't put much together. They (the Owls) played well defensively."
Fujiki had one of the Owls' defensive gems, running all the way to the top step of the Warriors dugout with his outstretched glove to snare a Nichols pop-up, leading off the third.
Fujiki also hit an RBI triple in the fifth for a 5-0 lead and pinch runner Bryson Kamisato scored MPI's final run on Blayne Fuke's single to right.
"We've been playing great," Takabuki said. "We're really coming together and becoming one team, and we gotta be ready for the ILH playoffs. Aaron (Fujiki) has been swinging consistently the whole year, and Doi has also been solid at the plate."
At Aloha Stadium
Kapono Chang, Kawika Omoto (6) and Stuart Kam. Rick Goto, Austin Sloan (5) and Aaron Fujiki. W--Goto. L--Chang.
Leading hitters--Kam: Makana Kitamura 2-4. MPI: Aaron Fujiki 2-3, 3b, 2 RBIs; Blayne Fuke 2-3, RBI; Russell Doi 1-2, 3b.
Pac-Five 12, Damien 4
Ross Yamato hit 3-for-3 and drove in three runs as the Wolfpack downed the Monarchs.
Ronel Trias and Kendall Tanigawa each also added three RBIs for the Wolfpack.
Kaimana Balanon went 3-for-3 with a double for the Monarchs.
At Ala Wai Field
Spencer Kim, Kawika Ferrara (4), Tony Onitzuka (5), Kendall Tanigawa (7) and Aaron Chilcote, Josh Gelson (5). Robert Cuizon, Jonathan Awa (2), George Martin (3), Oliver Paoy (3) and Kai Higa, T.J. Esclito (3), Lyle Nishikawa (4). W--Onitzuka. L--Cuizon.
Leading hitters--P5: Kama Moises 1-2, 3b, 3 RBIs; Ronel Trias 1-3, 3b; Tanigawa 2-2, 3 RBIs, 3 runs; Ross Yamato 3-3, 3 RBIs; Chad Yabuki 2b. Dam: Kaimana Balanon 3-3, 2b; Esclito 1-4, 2b; Travis Derby 2-4, 2b.
Kalani 13, Kaimuki 2
Jason Lee went 2-for-3 with three RBIs to help the Falcons defeat the Bulldogs.
Joshua Markwith, Jordan Sumida and starting pitcher Darren Takemoto each drove in two runs for the Falcons.
At Kaimuki H.S. field
Darren Takemoto, Tyler Matsuda (4) and Jason Lee. Swaine Seto-Mook, Ikaika Ayers (5) and Chase Nanod. W--Matsuda. L--Seto-Mook.
Leading hitters--Kaln: Joshua Markwith 2-3, 2b, 3 runs, 2 RBIs; Jordan Sumida 2-4, three runs, 2 RBIs; Lee 2-3, 3 RBIs; Takemoto 2 RBIs; Ridge Carpenter 3 runs; Kenn Kamoto 2 runs. Kaim: Seto-Mook 2b.