Pearl City, Saint Louis take top 2 poll spots


POSTED: Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Pearl City Chargers and Saint Louis Crusaders know a thing or two about being second.

In 2007, Pearl City was runner-up to Punahou at the state baseball tournament. A year later, Saint Louis fell to the Buffanblu in the final, giving Punahou its fifth state crown in a row.

The No. 1 ranking in the first Star-Bulletin Baseball Top 10 of the season, however, doesn't belong to Punahou, which opens at No. 5.

Pearl City (16-2) has the top spot after jumping to a 3-0 start in the Oahu Interscholastic Association. The Chargers had just three of the 13 first-place votes, while Saint Louis collected six. The Crusaders (9-1) will begin Interscholastic League of Honolulu play today against Damien. Coach Duane Fraticelli's team didn't face Pearl City in nonconference play, but scored 115 runs in just 10 games.

With a young roster, Fraticelli is sure of one thing: The Crusaders have depth.

“;If our starters don't produce, we have guys on the bench who can come in and produce,”; he said.

Among them are catcher Moses Samia, second baseman Lucas Gonsalves and third baseman Kaden Kamoe. Samia, who also plays first base, hit .473 in ILH play with 23 extra-base hits in 57 at-bats last year. Gonsalves (.424) and Kamoe (.373) also hit well in league action.

Last season, Chris Chung saw ample time on the mound as a sophomore. He'll start today against Damien.

“;Besides the returning guys, this is a whole bunch of new kids,”; Fraticelli said, feeling ambivalent about rankings.

“;I don't think it's going to affect us. It shouldn't. I'd rather be not ranked than be ranked. You don't know what goes through kids' heads, but we have a good group. The future looks good,”; he said.


Saber surge

The highest ranked neighbor island team is Maui, which is 7-2. The eighth-ranked Sabers have two southpaw aces in Peter Ebanez and Alika Aheong. David Sutton, a transfer from Kihei Charter School, and first-year varsity addition Michael Diaz give coach Lee Yonamine a solid staff.

A competitive performance in the Sabers' tourney was a big plus. They defeated 'Iolani and had a 3-1 lead on Kaiser in the seventh before losing in extra innings.

“;The boys realized that we held our own. They know they have a chance to compete at that level,”; Yonamine said.


Surfriders get respect

As usual, Kailua struggled through nonconference play, but started the OIA season strong and is in the Top 10 despite a 5-15 overall mark. Absences and disciplinary action filled much of the preseason for coach Corey Ishigo's team, but the blueprint is often the same. By playoff time, Kailua usually fields one of the strongest teams in the state.


Star-Bulletin Baseball Top 10

The Top 10 high school baseball teams as voted on by coaches and media from around the state. First-place votes in parentheses. Ten points for first-place votes, nine for second, eight for third, etc.

1. Pearl City (3), 16-2beat Campbellat Campbell108
2. Saint Louis (6), 9-1beat Kauaivs. Damien98
3. Mid-Pacific (1), 15-1-1tied Kamehamehavs. Maryknoll88
4. Kamehameha (1), 18-4-1tied Mid-Pacificat 'Iolani79
5. Punahou (2), 5-4-1beat Kalanivs. Pac-Five67
6. 'Iolani, 11-6lost to Kamehamehavs. Kamehameha55
7. Kailua, 5-15beat Rooseveltvs. Roosevelt38
8. Maui, 7-2beat 'Iolaniat Lahainaluna23
9. (tie) Kalani, 5-5beat Kalaheoat Kalaheo20
9. (tie) Kauai, 5-5beat Kapaaat Waimea20

» Also receiving votes: Waiakea 17, Campbell 16, Roosevelt 16, Baldwin 13, Kaiser 13, Hilo 12, Waianae 8, Kamehameha-Hawaii 6, Aiea 4, Mililani 3, Moanalua 3, Waimea 3, Kamehameha-Maui 2, Pac-Five 2.