HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Punahou pitcher Reece Kiriu delivered a pitch against Saint Louis during their ILH tournament game yesterday at Ala Wai Community Park. Kiriu pitched six solid innings and the Buffanblu used a six-run fourth inning to capture the ILH tournament title, 12-7.
Punahou wins ILH tournament
The battle zone known as Interscholastic League of Honolulu baseball is, first and foremost, a matter of endurance.
For Reece Kiriu and the reborn Punahou Buffanblu, a 12-7 victory over Saint Louis yesterday was one more step toward redemption. Kiriu pitched six solid innings and the Buffanblu used a six-run fourth inning to capture the ILH tournament title at Ala Wai Community Park.
Regular-season winner Saint Louis (24-7, 15-3 ILH) will face Punahou (18-4-2, 12-5-1 ILH) in the league championship game tomorrow on the same field at 10 a.m.
"It feels good to turn it around," Kiriu said of the Buffanblu, who have won seven of their last nine games. Just three weeks ago, the team was down on its luck and facing the possibility of coming up short as a four-time defending champion.
"We started hitting better. We started executing," said senior Paul Snieder, who relieved Kiriu and retired the side in order in the seventh.
Snieder's sharp effort curtailed any comeback ideas by the Crusaders. "We've got lots of respect for Saint Louis. That's why we threw Snieder in the last inning."
The Crusaders are hoping they can return to form on the diamond after committing seven errors yesterday. Those miscues accounted for 10 unearned runs.
"It's just the way our league is. It's tough. You're forced to make plays," Punahou coach Eric Kadooka said.
Kiriu permitted just four earned runs -- Punahou committed four errors -- but kept the damage under control by striking out four and walking just one. He finished the game with 112 pitches thrown.
"I think he found it and kept them honest," Kadooka said of Kiriu's hard-breaking cutters and curveballs. "If not, you see what (Saint Louis) can do to people."
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Jordan Honriyo of Punahou slid into home plate ahead of the throw to Saint Louis catcher Moses Samia yesterday during the Buffanblu's 12-7 win in the ILH tournament championship game.
The Crusaders collected 10 hits in all, yet left runners on base in all but two innings. That didn't help sophomore starter Chris Chung, who went four innings and allowed seven runs -- only two of which were earned.
Saint Louis reached Kiriu in the first inning on Moses Samia's two-run single to left, scoring Tamatoa DeMello and Danny Higa.
In the second, Punahou's Tyler Young scored from second base when Saint Louis second baseman Lucas Gonsalves misfired on Tyler Hanzawa's grounder, cutting the lead to 2-1.
In the bottom of the second, Keoni Haina, who had led off with a single and stole second, was chased down between second and third after Kaden Kamoe missed a bunt attempt.
Two Saint Louis errors contributed to a big fourth inning for Punahou. An error by Chung allowed pinch runner Travis Tanaka to score and tie the game at 2. With runners at the corners, Geoff Kunita grounded back to the mound, and Chung threw home. However, Samia, the catcher, did not tag baserunner Shane Yoshiyama before he threw to first. The runners were all safe, and Punahou had a 3-2 lead.
After a single by Matt Suiter brought Hanzawa home, the Buffanblu led 4-2. Then, Josh Bninski delivered a perfectly placed bunt single past the mound on a safety squeeze, and Kunita scored for a 5-2 lead.
Suiter came in to score on a throwing error by Samia -- a miscommunication with the infield at second base -- and Bninski crossed home plate on a wild pitch to give Punahou a 7-2 lead.
The Buffanblu scored two runs in the fifth, two in the sixth and one in the seventh -- all unearned runs. Young provided a key two-out, two-run triple in the sixth to give Punahou an 11-5 lead.
Saint Louis pulled within 11-7 after Higa socked a single to right to bring home Haina and Kamoe, but the Crusaders got no closer.
|Saint Louis (15-3)
Reece Kiriu, Paul Snieder and Zach Kometani. Chris Chung, Zack Markwith (5), Jordan Akau (7) and Moses Samia. W--Kiriu. L--Chung.
Leading hitters--Punahou: Matt Suiter 2-4, 2b, RBI, run; Harrison Ishida 2-3, 2 runs; Tyler Young 1-2, 3b, 2 RBIs, 2 runs. Saint Louis: Danny Higa 2-4, 2 RBIs; Keoni Haina 2-4, run; Kaden Kamoe 2-3, 2 runs.