2007 ALL-STATE BASEBALL TEAM
Punahou’s got punch
The Buffanblu rode an All-Star team to the title
The numbers don't lie, but there's more to Harrison Ishida than statistics.
Punahou's amazing ace saved his best for the state championships. The junior pitched two of his team's three wins. He allowed only one earned run in 14 innings and struck out 16 as the Buffanblu won an unprecedented fourth state crown in a row. Ishida had an 8-0 mark and 1.78 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 55-plus innings of league- and state-tournament action.
Above those sterling numbers, though, is Ishida's championship heart. He performed despite a badly sprained ankle suffered in a freak accident at Les Murakami Stadium before Punahou's quarterfinal game.
"He understands how we try to manage a game," coach Eric Kadooka said, giving a tough game with Mid-Pacific as an example. "Instead of throwing for the corners, he threw for our defense."
The right-hander mixed his fastball, curve and splitter with outstanding control. Only a junior, Ishida is quick to point to his defense and coaches when it came to credit. Ishida and one of those teammates, the versatile Paul Snieder, earned top honors based on voting by a panel of coaches and media.
Ishida was voted Star-Bulletin 2007 Pitcher of the Year, and Snieder was elected Position Player of the Year. The honor is the second in a row for Ishida, who is among six Buffanblu -- all juniors -- who made the All-State first team.
"He's unreal," Kalani coach Shannon Hirai said. "He's getting better each year, too. They're gonna be even tougher next year."
Iolani was the only team to beat Punahou during the rugged Interscholastic League of Honolulu schedule. Raiders coach Dean Yonamine is a full believer in the Buffanblu ace.
"He's a bulldog. A tough pitcher, a great competitor. A great kid, too. Super person," Yonamine said. "Shucks, our style of play, we normally take a lot of pitches and bunt and rely on a pitcher to make mistakes, but he has such good command. He takes us out of our game, really."
Ishida won all three of his starts against Iolani, a team that finished No. 4 in the state.
"The only time we won was when he didn't pitch," Yonamine noted.
Ishida, better known to family and teammates by his childhood nickname, "Jeeter", was also one of the top two vote-getters in Position Player of the Year honors. Plenty of offseason dedication, he believes, made the difference.
"I'm not sure what the other teams are doing, but we work out pretty hard. Everyone works out in the weight room and we work out with C4 training company. We have a core of six or seven of us, who work out before season (with C4)," Ishida said. "It gives us an edge over the other teams."
He credited assistant coach Kyle Shimabukuro.
"He does a great job. I do whatever he calls," Ishida said. "I want to give credit to my catcher, Zach (Kometani). I just always feel really confident. I can throw anything and he'll block it. He's got the best arm in the state."
Snieder was not only versatile, but was also outstanding at first base, third base and in the outfield. He was Punahou's No. 2 pitcher and perhaps their clutch hitter as well. After struggling with a shoulder injury early on, he was at his best in the state tournament with four hits in eight at-bats with four RBIs.
"He's a great utility person," Yonamine said. "He and Jeeter amazed us with how resilient they were. We were kind of hoping they'd wear themselves down, but they were able to pitch and the next day go play in the field. They're throwbacks to the old days. You don't get a lot of that nowadays. Those guys were really resilient."
Snieder's willingness to change gears in mid-stride was a valuable asset to the Buffanblu.
"I like going all over the place, it doesn't matter to me. Whatever helps the team, that's where I'll go," he said. "At the beginning of the season, we set our goals, and our biggest one was getting the fourth state title. We had to take it one game at a time, but we knew in the back of our mind, we wanted that fourth."
Rounding out the first team are:
» Kaiser pitcher Toby Inouye, who went 8-1 on the mound.
» Hilo ace Royce Ebesu, who sported an 0.94 ERA (4-2) and batted .333.
» Punahou catcher Kometani, who was named to the all-tournament team at the state championships.
» Iolani first baseman Reyn Nagamine, who hit .458 with four homers, four doubles and 23 RBIs in ILH play.
» Punahou second baseman Reece Kiriu, also named to the all-tourney team at the state championships.
» Punahou shortstop Joshua Bninski, a clutch hitter and fielder.
» Iolani third baseman Case Miyahira, a switch hitter who batted .492 with 24 RBIs.
» Pearl City outfielder Rorry Nakayama, named to the all-tourney team at states.
» Kalani outfielder Ridge Carpenter, who hit .535 with 13 RBIs, including a .600 average with runners in scoring position.
» Punahou outfielder Matt Suiter, one of the top defensive players and leadoff hitters in the state.
» Mid-Pacific catcher Aaron Fujiki, an All-ILH catcher who threw out nine of 17 baserunners.
Coach of the Year
Voters also gave two veteran gurus a bulk of the votes in the Coach of the Year voting. Pearl City's Mel Seki outpointed Kadooka for the honor.
After a strong nonconference showing, Seki's Chargers were among the favorites to win the Oahu Interscholastic Association title. Pearl City rose to No. 3 in the Star-Bulletin Top 10 before suffering a series of setbacks. Seki regrouped his squad and set them off to a hot run that yielded an OIA championship.
Pearl City's dream season (23-7) went all the way to the state final, where the Chargers fell to Punahou.
"He deserves credit and accolades," Kadooka said. "He does it the right way and gets the most out of his team. He's a real gentleman. I have a lot of respect for what he does. I try to learn whatever I can from him. There aren't too many guys like that."
Seki, 71, quietly retired as Pearl City's coach after 15 seasons at the helm.
"What a good way for him to go out. I wish him good health and a good retirement," Sato said.
Pos: Name, School, Yr.
Randy Castillo, Aiea, Jr.
Kelsey Outram, Iolani, Jr.
Bryson Nakamura, Pearl City, Jr.
Kolten Wong, Kamehameha-Hawaii, Jr.
Kellen Ushijima, Pearl City, Sr.
Keoni Manago, Roosevelt, Sr.
Tryson Cosier, Kamehameha-Hawaii, Sr.
Chad Quillopo, Pearl City, Sr.
Waylen Sing Chow, Kamehameha, Sr.
Reece Alnas, Kamehameha-Hawaii, Sr.
Kyle Gonzaga, Saint Louis, Jr.
Dustin Antolin, Mililani, Jr.
Kili Vierra, Kailua, Sr.
Pos: Name, School, Yr.
Matthew McDaniel, Mid-Pacific, So.
Kelii Kimi, Kamehameha-Hawaii, Sr.
Duncan Ebert, Damien, Sr.
Ehukai Woolley, Leilehua, Sr.
Kamuela Kalehuawehe-Valentine, Kamehameha-Maui, Jr.
Danny Higa, Saint Louis, Jr.
Desmond Ontai, Leilehua, So.
Cortney Arruda, Hilo, Sr.
Jordan Monico, Moanalua, Jr.
Preston Nakata, Kailua, Sr.
Todd Nagamine, Mid-Pacific, So.
Kekoa Lee, Moanalua, Sr.
Joey Aquino, Mililani, So.
Cody Aquino, Aiea; Codey Cabael, Castle; Roger Kraemer, McKinley; Ashkon Kuhaulua, Kamehameha; Richard Mariano, Mililani; Ben McQuown, Waianae; Jason Rasa, Pearl City; Pulama Silva, Castle; Austin Sloan, Mid-Pacific; Micah Takahashi, Kalani; Oliver Taoy, Kapolei; John Worthington, Kamehameha.
Kiley Kawazoe, Hilo; Lyle Kitagawa, Castle; Carlton Tanabe, Pearl City; Darby Ventura, Damien.
Kylen Cadium, Mililani; Travis Jones, Mililani; Mike Nagamine, Mid-Pacific; Jensen Sato, Waiakea; Cole Shidaki, Saint Louis; Kellen Ushijima, Pearl City.
Ryne Acosta, Pearl City; Russell Doi, Mid-Pacific; Joe Honma, Kaiser; Piikea Kitamura, Kamehameha; Brendan Nacario, Iolani; Cade Uyetake, Hilo; T.J. Yasuhara, Waiakea.
Jeremy Fujimoto, Punahou; Parker McCready, Kamehameha; Brett Nakasone, Leilehua; Kili Sumner, Kailua.
Zach Akamine, Kailua; Blake Amaral, Kamehameha-Hawaii; Aaron Santiago, Kapolei; Nick Wong, Roosevelt; Jay Yoshizawa, Moanalua.
Evan Bisho, Punahou; Dustin Dela Pena, Kaiser; Edieson Dumlao, Leilehua; Lionel Fujioka, Iolani; Tyson Goo, Kamehameha-Hawaii; Kai Higa, Damien; Mitchell Kauweloa, Kamehameha; Rylan Morihara, Iolani; Bryson Nakamura, Pearl City; Adam Schroeder, Mililani; Kainoa Uemoto, Kailua