Raiders capture ILH crown


POSTED: Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Defense just won 'Iolani another championship.

Behind Sheldon Lee's craftsmanship and a golden-gloved defense that turned two double plays, 'Iolani blanked Kamehameha 7-0 at Ala Wai Community Park yesterday to capture the Interscholastic League of Honolulu title.

It was a fitting end to the regular season for longtime Raiders coach Dean Yonamine, who announced in January plans to retire after this year.

“;I don't want to be poetic or anything, but I know the kids have been talking about it and they want to do this for me, but it's not about me. It's for them and especially the seniors,”; Yonamine said.

'Iolani captured its first league title since 1997 and sealed a state-tournament berth — a first since 2001.

“;Credit to the kids. We came out flat on Saturday (in a loss to Punahou). No practice or anything because yesterday was Sunday, but you could tell they were determined,”; Yonamine said.

Both teams finished the regular season 12-2, setting up yesterday's showdown.

Alika Pruett, the winning pitcher when Kamehameha topped 'Iolani 6-3 recently, had some trouble locating his breaking pitch and lasted only 3 1/3 innings.

Lee (5-0) had perhaps his best performance of the year in his first complete game. He beat the Warriors early in the season in a 9-6 contest, but it was nothing like this. The 6-foot-2 junior southpaw fanned two and walked none, scattering six hits. His ability to spot the fastball and tail his breaking ball on either side of the plate was masterful.

“;Sheldon threw only 77 pitches and that's amazing against Kamehameha. He threw a gem,”; Yonamine said.

Breland Almadova went 3-for-4 to lead 'Iolani's attack. Buen Hatanaka was clutch with two run-scoring singles.

Clean-up hitter Kewby Meyer, who was 3-for-3 in Kamehameha's regular-season win, was kept hitless in three at-bats by Lee. It was a steady effort for Lee, who gave up a single and double in the first inning, but escaped without a scratch.

“;I stuck to the plan: keep the ball down and change speeds,”; he said. “;The changeup was working after I got through the first inning. From then on, all I had to do was throw my fastball for strikes.”;

He got help on a pair of 5-4-3 double plays — Hatanaka to Kela Marciel to Reyn Nagamine — in the first and final innings. Hatanaka was in on five assists in all.

“;Buen made so many clutch plays,”; Yonamine said.

The defense was error-free on a green, but bumpy infield.

“;We've got great guys with a lot of energy. They make a lot of noise and they keep me going,”; Lee said.

After stellar defense in the first two innings, two errors by Kamehameha allowed 'Iolani to score three unearned runs in the bottom of the third inning.

“;They took advantage of some mistakes we made. You can't give a team like 'Iolani extra outs,”; coach Vern Ramie said. “;Today was probably the worst we've played defense all year. Not a lot of mistakes, but we bunched them together.”;

A throwing error by third baseman Josh Wong allowed 'Iolani's Kela Marciel to reach base in the third. He scored on a single up the middle by Jarrett Arakawa. Hatanaka then lifted a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Almadova easily from third for a 2-0 lead. Arakawa scored on a fielding error by second baseman Makana Ramie, and the Raiders led by three runs.

In the fourth, with runners in scoring position and the infield in, Jensen Park's blooper landed just over Ramie, the second baseman, to bring Grant Iwamoto home for a 4-0 'Iolani lead.

“;That fister, those kinds of things, it just wasn't our day,”; coach Ramie said.

Almadova added an infield single to score Marciel, and another sac fly by Hatanaka brought Park home for a 6-0 Raiders lead.

Nagamine's line-drive single to right brought Almadova home for 'Iolani's seventh run.

'Iolani (24-8 overall), ranked No. 3 in the Star-Bulletin Baseball Top 10, will host Pac-Five in the ILH tournament.

Second-ranked Kamehameha (30-7) will get its shot at a state-tournament berth beginning tomorrow with the ILH tourney; the league has three state berths in all. The Warriors will play Maryknoll at Ala Wai Field.

Ala Wai Community Park

Kamehameha (12-3)0000000063
'Iolani (13-2)003400x780

Alika Pruett, Chris Pascual (4) and Keanu Carmichael. Sheldon Lee and Grant Iwamoto. W—Lee. L—Pruett.

Leading hittersKS: Kalei Hanawahine 1-3, 2b; Piikea Kitamura 1-3, 2b. 'Iolani: Breland Almadova 3-4, 2 runs, RBI; Buen Hatanaka 1-3, 2b, 2 RBIs.

OIA softball

Roosevelt 3, Kahuku 1


Kalee Phelps and Brenda Capillon. Lianna Bajarin and Lindsay Takekawa. W—Bajarin. L—Phelps.

Leading hittersKah: Jazmin Toa HR. Roos: Charisse Tanabe HR; Kathleen Nakata 2-2, 2b.