HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Jeeter Ishida pitched a complete game for Punahou and drove in a run with a double.
Murashige helps Punahou steal a win
Alert baserunning produces a key run for the Buffanblu against Mid-Pacific
A heads-up play for top-ranked Punahou was also a big blunder for Mid-Pacific, and it turned the tide in the Buffanblu's 2-1 victory over the Owls last night at Aloha Stadium.
The win in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu's final regular-season baseball game allowed Punahou (10-2) to move into a first-place tie with second-ranked Iolani (10-2). The Buffanblu and Raiders play today at 5 p.m. at Central Oahu Regional Park for the regular-season title and a berth into the state tournament.
With the score tied 0-0 in the top of the fifth, Punahou's Maika Murashige hit a one-out single to left, and when MPI got the ball back to pitcher Matthew McDaniel, Murashige sped to an unguarded second base for a steal.
"I saw the second baseman and shortstop talking to the pitcher and they didn't call timeout, so I just took the base," Murashige said.
McDaniel, perhaps a bit shaken up by the surprise steal, hit the next batter before slugger Bucky Aona tagged a line-drive single to center to score Murashige for a 1-0 lead.
"They were playing me deep, so I was just looking for something to drive back up the middle, and he threw me a BP (batting practice) fastball or a changeup down the middle," Aona said. "I wasn't looking to take a big hack or anything."
Winning pitcher Jeeter Ishida followed two batters later with an RBI double off the wall near the 365-foot sign in left-center field to finish his team's scoring.
"They fell asleep," Mid-Pacific coach Dunn Muramaru said about Murashige's unexpected swipe.
"It was a miscommunication," said McDaniel, who is a freshman. "No one was covering second and he (Murashige) played it smart."
But Punahou's 2-0 lead was far from safe. MPI (6-6) rallied for a run in the seventh and threatened to score a lot more.
Blayne Fuke singled to lead off the Owls' last inning and Russell Doi followed with a run-scoring triple down the right-field line to make it 2-1.
Two pop-ups and a walk later, Buffanblu coach Eric Kadooka called for an intentional walk to Chad Takabuki to load the bases.
Ishida came through by striking out Alan Sunada, swinging, to end the game.
"It was another one of those games," Kadooka said. "We put our complete trust in Jeeter and the defense. It (seems like) it was our fifth one-run game in a row. Mid-Pacific is extremely tough. To put the tying run on third with no outs was incredible, so we're glad to be here (in today's playoff)."
Ishida walked six and hit one batter, but only allowed two hits before the Owls got two more in the seventh.
"I wasn't in command all night, so it caught up to me there," Ishida said. "I put a lot of runners on base."
Ishida's double turned out to be the winning hit.
"We were only up 1-0 at that point, so we needed an insurance run, and it paid off because we won by one run."
Muramaru said MPI's failed but gallant comeback attempt in the seventh was no consolation.
"Nope ... nope, nope ... nope," he said when asked if he was proud of the Owls' bid. "When you can't get a guy in from third base with no outs, you've got to give credit to the pitcher."
Today's Punahou-Iolani loser can still make it into the state tournament one of two ways. One way is by winning the ILH tournament that starts Monday. The only other way is if the regular-season champion also wins the tournament. If that happens, the two second-place teams (regular season and tournament) play for the other state berth.
At Aloha Stadium
Jeeter Ishida and Zach Kometani. Matthew McDaniel, Austin Sloan (6) and Aaron Fujiki. W--Ishida. L--McDaniel.
Leading hitters--Pun: Maika Murashige 2-4, Ishida 2-3, 2b, RBI. MPI: Russell Doi 1-2, 3b, RBI.
Kamehameha names Souza athletic director
Kamehameha football coach Kanani Souza has been named head athletic director for the Kapalama campus and assumes his new role immediately, principal Julian Ako announced yesterday.
Souza, who previously also served as associate athletic director, will continue to coach through the coming football season. He will then step aside to concentrate on his new role.
"We are looking to Kanani to provide strong leadership that will further strengthen what is already a great athletic program," Ako said in a statement.
Souza could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Current co-athletic directors Erv Kau and Blane Gaison will continue to serve in support of Souza. The Warriors field 117 teams in 22 girls and 22 boys sports.
Souza is a 1963 Kamehameha alum and coached his alma mater to the high school state title in 2004.