Maryknoll takes D-II baseball


POSTED: Sunday, May 10, 2009

With his ace pitcher crumpled in front of the mound, Maryknoll coach Kevin Uyehara rushed onto the field fully expecting to call on a reliever.

Craig Shoji — who had just been drilled in the thigh by a line drive — would hear nothing of it.

“;I said, 'Take your time, are you OK, we can take you out,'”; Uyehara said.

“;He said, 'No coach I have three more innings to pitch.' I couldn't take him out after that. I had to let him try at least.'”;

After taking a few minutes to gather himself, not only did Shoji stay in the game, he went the distance and had a role in a dramatic two-out seventh-inning rally that gave the Spartans a 3-2 win over Kauai and the Division II state baseball championship yesterday at Les Murakami Stadium.

Shoji, a 5-foot-5 junior, controlled a Kauai offense that won its first two games in the Wally Yonamine/HHSAA State Baseball Championship by a combined score of 23-2, and a wild tournament was capped by an unexpected pitcher's duel that was tied 2-2 going into the seventh.

After Kauai freshman Jensen Koga struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh, Tyler Todd reached on an infield single up the middle, and Shoji singled to center.

Leadoff hitter Joshua Arakaki's grounder then snuck into right field and Todd beat the throw to the plate to give Maryknoll its first state championship.

“;I knew he was going to throw a fastball outside and I was just thinking go the other way with it and put it in a hole somewhere,”; Arakaki said. “;I just kept running. I turned around and saw Tyler scoring and was overwhelmed.”;

Said Todd: “;Once the ball was hit, I kept running and I knew I could make it.”;

Maryknoll's four wins in the tournament doubled their total in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu season. As the ILH's lone D-II program, the Spartans survived wild games against Waipahu and St. Anthony to reach the final.

“;It means a lot,”; Shoji said. “;A lot of people said we shouldn't be here because of our ILH record, but we proved them wrong.”;

Shoji was effective in keeping his pitches low in the zone and mixing speeds against the defending D-II champion Red Raiders and retired 10 of 11 hitters after giving up a double to Dustin Prem to lead off the game.

That's when a line drive off Rysan Sakamoto's bat nailed him in the right thigh. He still managed to locate the ball and throw Sakamoto out at first before falling to the turf.

“;When I went out there to check him, his first question was, 'Did I get the guy out?' “; Uyehara said.

Shoji then gave up a single to Dalston Miyasato and Travis Koga hit a grounder into the hole at shortstop. The throw to first was wild, but Miyasato was thrown out at the plate by first baseman Nathan Choy to end the inning and preserve a 1-1 tie.

“;It was a little shaky,”; Shoji said of his leg. “;I just did what I was told to do. Coach told me to go back to my basics, which I did, and throw strikes.”;


Division II championship

Maryknoll 3, Kauai 2

Prem rf4121Arakaki ss4111
Wakumoto ss2000Guzman rf3010
Leanio p/1b2001Choy 1b2010
Ibia pr0000Hirata 3b3021
Sakamoto cf3000Honda pr0100
Miyasato 3b3010Oyadomari 2b2000
Koga 1b2010Saiki cf2000
Rice-Kashima c2000Nishiki c2001
Ebueng pr0100Todd lf3110
Murata 2b3000Shoji p3010
Tani lf2010Tom pr0000 



E—Wakumoto; Arakaki. DP—Kauai 1. LOB—Kauai 5; Maryknoll 5. 2B—Prem 2. HBP—Rice-Kashima. SH—Wakumoto; Saiki; Nishiki. SB—Choy.

Koga (L, 1-1)3 2/341103
Shoji (W, 2-0)752222

Umpires— Joe Brown (Plate); Frank Marotti (First); Clayton Suzuki (Second); Paul Uyehara (Third).

T—2:01. A—N/A.

Third place
Molokai 6, St. Anthony 2

Fifth place
Hawaii Prep 6, Waipahu 5

McKinley 11, Kahuku 6