HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
Miyahira leads Raiders past Owls before tournament
Senior third baseman Case Miyahira and his Iolani teammates showed yesterday they may be ready to make a strong run in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu tournament.
Miyahira went 3-for-4 with three runs and a three-run, inside-the-park home run to help the No. 2 Raiders down No. 4 Mid-Pacific 8-4 yesterday afternoon at Ala Wai field. With the victory, Iolani clinched second place in the league behind undefeated Punahou.
The Raiders (9-2) face the Buffanblu (11-0) on Thursday, but Punahou clinched the regular-season title yesterday with a 3-2 win over Damien.
Iolani must win the league's postseason tournament, which starts next week, to have a chance at states. The tournament winner faces regular-season champ Punahou in the overall league championship game May 4 for the ILH's lone state-tournament berth.
"That kind of finishes us off as far as the regular season goes, so now we have to come back and win the ILH tournament," Iolani coach Dean Yonamine said. "Realistically, from the beginning of the season, we thought two losses would have us right in there and we never thought Punahou would go undefeated. I think we're right where we wanted to be, so you just have to give credit to Punahou. They didn't necessarily beat up on everybody, but when the games were on the line and they needed big hits or big outs, they came through."
The same cannot be said for the Owls (7-4), who committed five errors, and had three pitchers combine to issue four walks and hit another batter. The Mid-Pacific offense also stalled early and stranded seven runners in the first three innings.
"In high school baseball guys are going to make errors, so when you put the ball in play, you always have a chance," Yonamine said. "That's the main thing; we're not striking out or hitting a lot of pop-ups. We hit the ball well in clutch situations and had a few (sacrifice) flies, and a couple of hits here and there, so that was big. Case's (home run) was big too."
The Raiders took an early 1-0 lead when Miyahira and Reyn Nagamine singled and Grant Iwamoto plated Miyahira on a single to left field.
Iolani kept the hits coming in the second frame, as Kela Marciel and Daniel Takami reached on singles, and moved to third and second when left fielder Derek Tan overran Takami's hit.
Marciel trotted home on the next pitch as catcher Aaron Fujiki tried to pick him off at third, but instead hurled the ball into left field. After Rylan Morihara drew a walk, Miyahira made the Owls pay for their blunders, launching a ball over center fielder Todd Nagamine's head. It resulted in a three-run inside-the-park homer to give the Raiders a comfortable 5-0 advantage, and led to Owl starter Matthew McDaniel's early exit after just 1 2/3 innings.
"It was important that the two runners before me got on base, because it put the pressure on the pitcher," Miyahira said. "I actually thought the center fielder was going to catch (the ball), so I was just hoping (Takami) would tag up from third. Lately we've been doing a good job hitting the ball, and our pitchers have been throwing a lot of strikes."
Mid-Pac finally pushed two runs across in the fourth inning after loading the bases with no out. Robert Dittrick scored on Wade Tamaru's sacrifice fly to right field, and Nagamine came home on Fujiki's ground ball to second to narrow the deficit to 5-2. The Owls added two runs in the seventh in a late rally attempt, but the effort was futile.
Raider reliever Jon Okada got the win, going the final five innings after starter JR Bunda was pulled for control problems.
Iolani got one run back in their half of the fourth without a hit. After Takami reached on an error and both Morihara and Nagamine walked, Iwamoto brought home Takami with a sacrifice fly to right, and increased the lead to 6-2.
The Raiders added two insurance runs in the sixth as Morihara and Miyahira scored on an RBI single from Nagamine, and a Grant Liu fielder's choice.
At Ala Wai Field
Matthew McDaniel, Riley Ching (2), Mikael Young-Obrien (4) and Aaron Fujiki. JR Bunda, Jon Okada (3) and Grant Iwamoto. W--Okada. L--McDaniel.
Leading hitters--MPI: Fujiki 2-4, 2 RBIs; Robert Dittrick 2-3; Easton Torigoe 2b, RBI. Iol: Case Miyahira 3-4, HR, 3 RBIs; Reyn Nagamine 2-3, RBI; Iwamoto 1-2, 2 RBIs.
No. 1 Punahou 3, Damien 2
Reece Kiriu struck out six batters over five innings and Evan Bisho doubled and drove in two runs during a three-run second inning as the Buffanblu knocked off the Monarchs to clinch the regular-season championship.
At Mid-Pacific Institute field
Duncan Ebert and Darby Ventura. Reece Kiriu, Paul Snieder (6) and Zach Kometani. W--Kiriu. L--Ebert. S--Snieder.
Leading hitters--Dam: Travis Derby 2-4, 2b, run. Pun: Snieder 2b; Kiriu 2b; Evan Bisho 2b, 2 RBIs.