Pearl City earns spot in OIA final


POSTED: Saturday, April 25, 2009

The weather was almost picture perfect, and so was Kahana Neal.

The 6-foot-2 junior stifled Moanalua's bats before snuffing out a seventh-inning rally as No. 1-ranked Pearl City (27-2, 14-0) advanced to the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference final with a 6-3 win yesterday. The defending league champions will play Kailua on Monday for the title. Game time at Hans L'Orange Field is 5 p.m.

“;They're ranked No. 1 for a reason,”; Moanalua coach Scott Yamada said before naming two, actually. “;Pitching and defense. They clutched up when they had to.”;

Catcher Carlton Tanabe was key, calling on Neal to use his vast menu of offerings while hitting 2-for-3. Neal also went 2-for-3 and drove in a run, while Jordan Oshiro was 2-for-4 in Pearl City's balanced attack.

The game began on Thursday, but wet conditions forced a suspension after just one inning.

Neal picked up where starting pitcher Micah Nakasone left off. Neal allowed three runs on six hits with four strikeouts and one walk. For five of those six innings, though, Moanalua had but one base hit, mesmerized by Neal's repertoire of fastballs, curves, sliders and splitters.

He was put to the test, though, in the seventh when the visitors bunched together five hits.

Ryan Cortez and Landon Yoshikawa, who was a strikeout victim earlier, delivered run-scoring singles in Moanalua's three-run inning, but Neal persevered and closed out the game by inducing Jordan DePonte into a groundout.

The key, with Neal's fastball slightly off late in the game, was strategic. Neal went with a change-up instead of his heater on first pitches.

“;We had to mix up the pitches. (Moanalua) figured it out,”; Tanabe said. “;Whatever we could do to keep them off-balance.”;

On Thursday, Arakawa lost what would've been a two-run homer in the top of the first inning. Because a new fence—just four days old—had been tied to the existing, lower right-field fence, his long shot glanced off the new barrier to give him a 325-foot double. Moanalua failed to score in the first.

The Chargers scored in the bottom of the frame after Tanabe doubled and Neal singled in courtesy runner Brian Iida.

Oshiro's single to left in the second scored Micah Turell for a 2-0 Pearl City lead.

Three runs in the third broke open the game. Terry Ryan's single to right brought in two runs, and a throwing error by Na Menehune on a pickoff play allowed Royce Murai to score for a five-run cushion.

The Chargers added an insurance run in the sixth when Oshiro doubled and later scored on a double play.

Tanabe is looking forward to playing in Hans L'Orange Field. He was a bullpen catcher for the West Oahu CaneFires during the Hawaii Winter Baseball League last year.

“;It was nice and level,”; he said. “;I'd rather play there than CORP.”;

No. 10-ranked Moanalua will meet Campbell in the third-place game. Date and site were not announced as of last night.

Moanalua (10-4)0000003381
Pearl City (14-0)113001x690

Dae Jang Kim, Jesse Nakasone (3), Bronson Shim (3) and Chris Liu-Saguid. Micah Nakasone, Kahana Neal (2) and Carlton Tanabe. W—Neal. L—Kim.

Leading hitters—Moanalua: Miles Higa 2-4. PC: Jordan Oshiro 2-4, RBI, run; Tanabe 2-3; Neal 2-3, RBI.

No. 6 Kailua 16, Campbell 6

Kale Sumner hit a homer for the Surfriders to help Kailua advance to Monday's championship game.

Waipahu 9, Radford 2

The Marauders' first five batters got on base in the bottom of the sixth inning and a series of RBIs led to a seven-run inning to propel the Marauders past the Rams.

Kaimi Haina picked up the win on the mound and catcher Iggy Mackenzie led all hitters with a double and two RBIs.

Radford (8-3)0100010244
Waipahu (10-1)000027x9102

Damon Puskarich and Troy Evans. Kaimi Haina and Iggy Mackenzie. W—Haina. L—Puskarich.

Leading hitters—Radford: Robert Cervalos HR; Bobby Woshlager RBI. Waipahu: Mackenzie 2-3, 2b, 2 RBIs; Sam Chee 3-3, RBI; Ed Agag 1-4, 2b, 2 RBIs; Cheyne Estanique 2b, 2RBIs.

McKinley 9, Kahuku 1

The Red Raiders walked three Tigers in the bottom of the sixth to help spark a five-run inning and seal the deal for McKinley.

John Ho picked up the win and Masa Kato led all hitters with two RBIs and a double.

Kahuku (8-4)0100000162
McKinley (9-3)112005x973

H. Graycochia, Allan Kabota (3), A. Van Ness (5) and B. Kaukaniko. John Ho and Cody Reyes. W—Ho. L—Graycochia.

Leading hitters—McK: Masa Kato 2-4, 2 RBIs, 2b; Brandon Maeda-Onogi 2-3, 2 runs; Ho 2 RBIs.