'Iolani ends it


POSTED: Sunday, May 03, 2009

While Breland Almadova served as a vital cog of 'Iolani's offensive attack all season long, the center fielder came through as a reliever on the mound when his team needed it the most.

The senior came in with the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth inning, and struck out three consecutive Kamehameha batters, preserving the Raiders' two-run lead. Almadova then closed out the seventh frame, stranding runners on first and second base, and picked up his fourth save of the season as 'Iolani claimed the Interscholastic League of Honolulu overall title with a 4-2 victory over the Warriors yesterday at Ala Wai Community Park.

Both squads had already clinched berths into this week's HHSAA state baseball championship tournament, but yesterday's game proved pivotal, as 'Iolani receives the league's seed in the tourney, and the first-round bye that comes with it.

“;I wanted to come in, throw strikes, get some big outs, and win a big game for us,”; Almadova said.

He not only leads the team with a .461 batting average, nine home runs and 36 RBIs, Almadova also improved his microscopic earned-run average to 0.39 through 18 innings.

“;I'm glad for the team; it was a team effort,”; he said. “;As a senior, and for the younger guys and all my senior friends, this is great. We're going to come back hard, go back to practice and hopefully be perfect during states.”;

Kamehameha (17-5) claimed the ILH postseason tournament championship on Friday with a 6-4 win over 'Iolani (19-4) after falling to the Raiders, 10-3, on Thursday. Due to the tourney's double-elimination format, yesterday's game was 'Iolani's fifth in six days, and third in as many days against the Warriors.

By winning the ILH tournament, the Warriors, ranked No. 2 in the Star-Bulletin Baseball Top 10 statewide poll of coaches and media, earned their way into yesterday's championship playoff. Third-ranked 'Iolani earned a spot in the contest by winning the ILH regular-season title with a 7-0 tie-breaking victory over Kamehameha on April 20.

'Iolani came out of the gates swinging, as five of its first seven batters reached on base hits off losing starter Bryson Kenolio. Winning pitcher Jarrett Arakawa, JR Bunda and Grant Iwamoto each drove in a run to put the Raiders up 3-0 after one frame.

After his squad added another run in the second, Arakawa breezed through the opposing lineup, retiring eight straight until shortstop Kevin Barayuga's throwing error allowed Pi'ikea Kitamura to reach on a routine grounder, and eventually score an unearned run.

But Arakawa composed himself and struck out ensuing batter Arlie Johnson before getting Jonathan James to ground out to end the inning with runners stranded on second and third.

The Warriors continued to chip away at the deficit in the fifth as Jacob Meyer, Kalei Hanawahine and Kitamura reached on consecutive two-out singles to make it 4-2. But with runners on first and third, Kewby Meyer flew out to center to end the threat.

“;We had our chances down the stretch, but didn't get that timely hit when we needed it,”; Kamehameha coach Vern Ramie said.


At Ala Wai Community Park

Kamehameha (17-5)0001100281
'Iolani (19-4)310000x461

Bryson Kenolio, Harley Holt (2) and Keanu Carmichael. Jarrett Arakawa, Breland Almadova (6) and Grant Iwamoto. W—Arakawa. L—Kenolio. S—Almadova.
Leading hittersKam: Pi'ikea Kitamura 2-4, 2b, RBI; Kewby Meyer 2-4, 2b. Iol: Arakawa 2b, RBI; Buen Hatanaka RBI; JR Bunda RBI; Iwamoto RBI.