Punahou 4-peat hopes alive
Top-seeded Punahou looks to become the first four-time state baseball champion in history tonight at Les Murakami Stadium.
Sophomore Tyler Young drove in four runs in the opening four innings and the Buffanblu scored seven runs in the third as they beat unseeded Kamehameha-Hawaii 14-4 last night in the second semifinal game of the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA State Baseball Championships.
The game, which started after 9 p.m., went close to midnight. The 10-run mercy rule ended things after the sixth inning. The Buffanblu next play Oahu Interscholastic Association champion Pearl City for the title tonight at 7.
Mid-Pacific in the early 1990s and Iolani ('96-'98) are the only other teams to win three straight titles, but both failed in their attempt for a fourth.
Punahou took a 4-3 lead into the top of the third inning, when they scored seven runs. The first three batters reached base in the inning, but reliever Kawika Cazimero got Punahou's only starting senior, Evan Bisho, to ground into a double play.
But the Buffanblu then strung together five RBI hits, including a triple by Zachary Kometani down the right-field line, and back-to-back doubles by Paul Snieder and Reece Kiriu. They finished with six hits in the inning.
Kamehameha-Hawaii added a run in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Makana Cazimero, but still trailed by seven.
Sophomore Tyler Young gave the Buffanblu a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a three-run double to the gap in right-center field that cleared the bases. Evan Lim followed that up with another double to the same spot as Punahou took an early 4-0 lead.
Snieder, who got the start for the Buffanblu, struggled to find his command early, as he walked two of the first three batters he faced. Blake Amaral drove in Reece Alnas with a run-scoring single to make it 4-1, and the Warriors added two more runs on a RBI groundout and Punahou error to make it 4-3 after one inning.
The Buffanblu loaded the bases in the second inning on three walks, but Kamehameha-Hawaii starter Kelii Kimi got Kiriu to ground out to end the threat and keep it a one-run deficit.
The senior right-hander only lasted one more batter, hitting Young with a pitch to open the third. He finished the game with five runs allowed and five walks in just two-plus innings.
Kometani was a home run shy of the cycle in the fifth inning and had two RBIs. He added a run-scoring double in the fifth and Geoffrey Kunita walked in a run to make the game 13-4. Seven of Punahou's 12 hits went for extra bases.