HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
Kamehameha another step closer to states
In a game that fit the theme of this season's Interscholastic League of Honolulu championship tournament, Kamehameha held on to win yet another ballgame decided by just one run.
Warriors closer Ashkon Kuhalua came into the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with the bases loaded and one out, and preserved the 3-2 win over No. 2 Iolani yesterday afternoon at Aloha Stadium after striking Wally Marciel out and getting Chris Johnson to fly out to left field.
"We beat a very good Iolani team today, and we live to fight another day," said Kamehameha head coach Vern Ramie. "We had a roller-coaster regular season, and we targeted this tournament as our opportunity to come back and show people that we're a lot better team than how we played (earlier) in the season. These guys are very hungry for the opportunity to get back into the state tournament."
Kamehameha will face Punahou tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at Aloha Stadium, and the Warriors will be looking for revenge after falling 3-2 to the Buffanblu last Wednesday night in eight innings. However, due to the tournament's double-elimination format, Kamehameha must defeat the defending state champions again on Wednesday to win the tournament and claim a berth in the state playoffs.
"We're really looking forward to playing (Punahou) again," Ramie said. "The last game we played, we had some opportunities to win, but couldn't get that two-out hit when we needed it. Hopefully, we can give them a good game on Monday."
Kamehameha (9-8) had a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the seventh thanks to an insurance run picked up in the top of the inning. Marciel, the Raiders' starting pitcher, allowed Aaron Nichols to reach third base after throwing the ball deep into foul territory when the speedy shortstop tried to bunt his way on. Waylen Sing Chow took advantage of the miscue and brought Nichols home on a single.
Iolani (12-5) attempted a rally in its half of the inning. With runners on first and second and one out, Reyn Nagamine smacked a sharp grounder up the middle, and off relief pitcher Jordon Inafuku's glove, causing the ball to trickle into short left field. Jarvis Nohara came around from second on the play to score. After Brett Hasegawa singled, the bases were loaded as the momentum shifted in Iolani's favor.
But Kuhalua came in and slammed the door on the Raiders, preserving the victory for Sing Chow, who allowed one run on six hits in 5 1/3 innings of work, and struck out three. The southpaw also went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored on offense.
"This was Waylen's first start in a while, but our pitching staff has kept us in every ballgame, and to give us five strong innings like he did was fantastic," Ramie said. "We've had to come through the losers bracket, so our pitching's a little thin, but we had guys that came in and got some big outs at the end."
"My defense helped me out a lot," added Sing Chow. "My catcher (Stuart Kam) called a great game, which allowed me to get ahead of the hitters."
Iolani scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the third inning when Marciel helped his own cause with a single to left that brought in Case Miyahira, who had doubled earlier.
Kamehameha answered in the top of the fourth with a run of its own to notch the score at 1-1. Parker McCready's hard grounder to the shortstop Hasegawa allowed pinch runner Parker Paredes to score from third.
The Warriors added another run in the fifth inning when courtesy runner Keoni Lum came home on Miyahira's error at third base. The miscue came with two outs, and a clean play would have gotten the Raiders out of the inning unscathed.
Marciel pitched a complete game in defeat, giving up seven hits and three walks while striking out six.
"It wasn't his best effort, but he battled," said Iolani skipper Dean Yonamine of his pitcher's performance. "He had some tough situations that he got out of, so I'm proud of him."
At Aloha Stadium
Waylen Sing Chow, Jordon Inafuku (6), Ashkon Kuhalua (7) and Stuart Kam. Wally Marciel and Jarvis Nohara. W--Sing Chow. L--Marciel. S--Kuhalua.
Leading hitters--Kam: Sing Chow 3-4, 2b, RBI, run; Keahi Piiohia 2-3. Iol: Marciel 2-4, RBI; Case Miyahira 1-2, 2b, run.