HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
Kailua draws Punahou in state baseball
A week ago, a year ago, the prospect of two recent state champions meeting in the opening round of the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA Baseball State Championships would have seemed preposterous.
Today, it's a reality. Punahou, which was in the driver's seat to win the Interscholastic League of Honolulu title last week, will meet perennial powerhouse Kailua in one of four opening-round games on Wednesday at Iron Maehara Stadium on Maui.
Aiea garnered the No. 1 seed from the HHSAA seeding committee. Na Alii captured the Oahu Interscholastic Association crown in one of the league's most competitive seasons on the diamond.
Coach Ryan Kato is delighted with the top seeding from the HHSAA committee, but knows it can be a hazard.
"I'm surprised. All year long, I've been telling the boys that not too many people were expecting big things from us. We were flying under the radar," Kato said.
Kamehameha (12-8 ILH), which snuck up on Punahou during the postseason to win the league title, is the No. 2 seed.
Baldwin, which won its sixth Maui Interscholastic League title in a row, is the No. 3 seed under new coach Mark Moniz.
Kamehameha-Hawaii captured its first Big Island Interscholastic Federation championship and is seeded fourth.
Being the No. 1 seed is something Kato expects his team to be comfortable with.
"They'll go about playing the same way they have all year long. It won't be a distraction. They'll block it out and focus on what needs to be done," he said of Na Alii, who endured a season of road trips after their home facility was deemed unsafe for games.
The time off since last week's OIA title win over Moanalua has been good -- and bad.
"As far as rust, no, but I don't want them to get overexcited," Kato said. "We've been through layoffs through the rainy season, and we have to revert back to those experiences."
At Iron Maehara Stadium
1. Aiea. 2. Kamehameha. 3. Baldwin. 4. Kamehameha-Hawaii.
Game 1: Waiakea vs. Moanalua, 11:30 a.m.
2: Kaiser vs. Waimea, 2 p.m.
3: Kailua vs. Punahou, 4:30 p.m.
4: Castle vs. Maui, 7 p.m.
5: Losers of Games 3 & 4, 9 a.m.
6: Game 3 winner vs. Kamehameha-Hawaii, 11:30 a.m.
7: Game 2 winner vs. Kamehameha, 2 p.m.
8: Game 4 winner vs. Aiea, 4:30 p.m.
9: Game 1 winner vs. Baldwin, 7 p.m.
10: Losers of Games 1 & 2, 10 a.m.
11: Losers of Games 6 & 8, 12:30 p.m.
12: Losers of Games 9 & 7, 3 p.m.
13: Winners of Games 6 & 8, 5:30 p.m.
14: Winners of Games 9 & 7, 8 p.m.
15: Winners of Games 10 & 5, noon
16: Winners of Games 12 & 11, 2:30 p.m.
17: Losers of Games 14 & 13, 5 p.m.
18: Winners of Games 14 & 13, 8 p.m.