HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
Aiea beats Mililani with 1 hit
A little help from Grandma is all Aiea needed to overcome the perfect enemy.
Randy Castillo struck out 13 Mililani Trojans and Keenan Naeole delivered his team's only base hit, bringing home Ryan Murakami in the bottom of the 10th inning for a thrilling 1-0 win yesterday at Aiea Recreation Center.
The win was crucial for No. 6-ranked Aiea, which lost to Waianae on Wednesday and fell behind the previously unbeaten Trojans. Aiea is now 6-1 in Oahu Interscholastic Association West.
Aiea coach Ryan Kato couldn't help but marvel at his ace's grit. "From a pitching standpoint, that's at the top of the list. He went the max," Kato said, referring to a league rule that permits no more than 10 innings pitched in one game for a hurler. "I knew he had it in him."
Kato had complete faith in his ace's endurance. Castillo threw 126 pitches. "I didn't even ask him" Kato said. "Randy has dedication, and his desire is off the chart."
Third-ranked Mililani slipped to 7-1. "The credit goes to Castillo. Kato's gotta be proud of him," Trojans coach Dean Sato said.
Castillo, who enlisted help from his grandmother in his effort to scout Mililani, was superb. She videotaped a televised game between Pearl City and Mililani on Wednesday, and he studied the footage well.
"I got myself into a good mental state," Castillo said. Mixing his fastball, curve, change-up, slider and splitter, he scattered seven singles and walked on only one Trojan.
Despite some minor leg cramps, the 6-foot junior right-hander was especially tough in extra innings, giving Na Alii a chance to stay with Mililani ace Dustin Antolin.
The Trojan junior righty threw a no-hitter through the regulation seven innings, and still had not permitted a hit when he left the game after 8 1-3 innings. Antolin struck out seven and walked none in an amazing performance.
"We did our job. You can't do anything more," said Antolin, who also hit 3-for-4.
"I told them, 'I can live with a team beating us by outhitting us,'" Mililani coach Dean Sato said.
Despite being shut out, the visiting Trojans left runners on base in five innings. The most opportune situation came in the top of the 10th, when Antolin and Joey Aquino delivered back-to-back two-out singles. Richard Mariano, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, sent a grounder into the hole at shortstop, and Murakami's throw to second was a split-second late.
With the bases loaded, Castillo bore down and struck out Adam Schroeder to end the threat.
Aquino, who had relived Antolin in the bottom of the ninth, brought a fresh arm to the duel.
However, he walked Murakami to start the 10th, and Murakami promptly stole second base.
Aquino jumped ahead of Naeole 0-2, but the crafty junior right-fielder was ready.
"I saw him grip the ball for a curveball. I'm a pitcher, too, so I would've thrown that, too," he said. "I was just trying to hit it hard and down. I got a lucky bounce."
Naeole's chopper bounced over the head of Mililani third baseman Jay Yoshizawa and down the line. Jose Cruz's throw home was too late to catch Murakami, who scored easily.
In all, Aiea batted 1-for-28 against Antolin and Aquino.
Mililani stranded seven baserunners. Despite the no-decision, Antolin lamented the loss. A win would've given the Trojans sole possession of first place, and an edge in the race for a first-round bye in the playoffs.
"Dustin pitched a hell of a game," Naeole said. "We knew it would come down to a game like that."
Gusty trade winds blew in from right field for the first eight innings. "That helped my fastball," said Antolin, who was extremely sharp with his slider, forkball and change-up. He fanned four of the first Aiea batters he faced.
"The credit goes to Aiea. They played hard. I love the fight they have. They have a lot of fight in 'em," he said.
At Aiea Recreational Field
Dustin Antolin, Joey Aquino (9) and Richie Mariano. Randy Castillo and Anthony Tsui. W--Castillo. L--Aquino.
Leading hitters--Mil: Antolin 3-4. Aiea: Keenan Naeole 1-3, RBI.