Punahou stakes claim to states


POSTED: Friday, May 01, 2009

After a grueling 14-game season followed by an equally demanding double-elimination postseason tournament, the Interscholastic League of Honolulu playoff push came down to one final game.

Punahou received a game-winning RBI single from Dylan Leong with two out in the eighth inning and claimed the win-or-go-home clash with a 6-5 come-from-behind, extra-inning victory over Mid-Pacific last night at Ala Wai Community Park.

The Buffanblu, who claimed third place in the ILH, also earned the league's coveted third and final berth into next week's HHSAA state baseball championship tournament.

“;We just had to believe,”; said Leong, who redeemed himself after committing two errors in the fourth inning which resulted in two Owls runs. “;I was really bummed that I made the errors, but I knew that the rest of the team was going to pick me up, and that we'd find a way to win.”;

With the win, Punahou (11-8), ranked No. 7 in the Star-Bulletin baseball Top Ten statewide poll of coaches and media, will vie for a sixth consecutive state title.

“;That's probably the ninth (life) right there, it's a credit to our kids, and a credit to Mid-Pac for an unbelievable game,”; said Punahou coach Eric Kadooka. “;Baseball is about redemption, another chance, and Dylan's hit was the biggest hit of the year. He works the hardest, he deserved that at-bat and the game-winning hit.”;

While both teams were eliminated from the ILH tournament earlier in the week—Punahou by No. 3 'Iolani on Tuesday, and Mid-Pacific by Saint Louis on Saturday—the playoff was necessary to determine the ILH's overall third-place team as the Raiders and No. 2 Kamehameha have solidified the race for first and second place.

No. 6 Mid-Pacific (12-6) went up 4-0 in the fourth inning thanks to three Punahou errors. Nick Tasaka started the scoring by belting a two-run home run over the right-field fence that scored Derek Tan, who reached earlier on an error by Leong.

However, Punahou rallied in the sixth for four runs to tie the game. Alaka'i Aglipay and Kaimi Crowell were hit by pitches and walked to start the frame, and Aglipay scored on a balk and two wild pitches from Mid-Pacific starter Matthew McDaniel. Crowell came home on an RBI triple from Jeremy Ioane, who later scored on a single off the bat of Tyler Hanzawa.

Buffanblu pinch hitter Shane Yoshiyama sacrificed Hanzawa to second, and the selfless move paid dividends as, with two out, Michael Suiter blooped a single to center to score the tying run.

“;Being down 4-0 to Mid-Pac is a pretty big deficit, but it's a credit to our kids, they wouldn't give up,”; Kadooka said.

McDaniel did it all for the Owls, as the senior tossed a complete game, striking out four, and drove in what was the go-ahead run for the Owls in the seventh inning with a two-out RBI single.

But, following Aglipay's RBI single in Punahou's last at-bat in regulation to knot the score at 5-5, the contest required an extra frame during which McDaniel allowed Leong's two-out single to right center field that scored Suiter to end the game.

“;If we're going to lose a game, we'd have (McDaniel) out there,”; said Mid-Pacific coach Dunn Muramaru. “;It's just a shame nobody gets to watch them play in the state tournament.”;

Punahou hurler Jeremy Fujimoto picked up the victory in 1 2/3 innings of relief. It was his third decision in six days as Fujimoto lost as a starter against Kamehameha on Saturday, and took the loss in relief on Tuesday against 'Iolani.


Mid-Pacific (11-7)100300010591
Punahou (11-8)00000411x6123

Matthew McDaniel and Dane Fujinaka. Marcus Yoshii, Jeremy Fujimoto (7) and Tyler Young. W—Fujimoto. L—McDaniel.
Leading hitters: MPI: Nick Tasaka HR, 2 RBIs, run. Pun: Michael Suiter 2-5, 2b, run; Dylan Leong 2-4; Young 2-4; Alakai Aglipay 3-3, RBI, run; Jeremy Ioane 3b.


No. 3 'Iolani 10, No. 2 Kamehameha 3

J.R. Bunda cranked a grand slam to left-center field in the first inning to trigger a five-run outburst as the second-ranked Raiders trounced the No. 3 Warriors.

Bunda combined with two relievers to hold down Kamehameha, dealing the Warriors their first loss in the double-elimination tournament.

The two teams play again today with the tournament title at stake. Kamehameha must beat 'Iolani to force a playoff for the overall ILH championship tomorrow.


Kamehameha (15-4)10010013111
'Iolani (18-3)500005x10100

Chris Pascual and Keanu Carmichael. J.R. Bunda, Michael Diebold (4), Jarrett Arakawa (5) and Grant Iwamoto. W—Arakawa. L—Pascual.
Leading hitters: KS: Piikea Kitamura 2-4; Kewby Meyer 2-4, 2 RBIs; Arlie Johnson 2-2, run; Makana Ramie 2-3. Iol: Sean Nada 2-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Breland Almadova 2-3, HR, 3 RBIs; Buen Hatanaka 1-2, run; Bunda 2-3, HR; 4 RBIs; Iwamoto 2-3.