The attitude was business as usual, but Waiakea coach Kevin Yee said his baseball team still went through a feeling-out process in its Hawaii High School Athletic Association tournament opener.
Once the Warriors got going, however, they had all the appearances of a team that looked ready to defend its Division I state championship.
Kean Wong collected three hits Wednesday, and Kodi Medeiros and Aaron Nishiura each doubled to ignite an avalanche of offense in back of Alika Guillermo as the Warriors clubbed Leilehua 14-3 at Iron Maehara Stadium on Maui.
“We made the adjustments that we needed to make,” Yee said after Waiakea (9-4) broke open a scoreless game with three runs apiece in the fourth through six innings, then added five in the seventh.
Wong, a senior, scored three runs and belted a triple, and freshman Caleb Freitas-Fields finished with two hits and four RBIs.
Coming off an 11-inning loss to Hilo on Sunday in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation championship game in which Yee had to use both Medeiros and Freitas-Fields on the mound, Guillermo gave the Warriors’ pitching staff a lift with six solid innings.
“We actually really needed that,” Yee said. “It’s a gamble when you don’t throw your supposed Nos. 1-2 guys.
“We thought Alika matched up well with Leilehua, threw strikes and got us through the game.”
Guillermo’s 69-pitch performance — the senior allowed three runs on five hits — allowed Yee to save junior ace left-hander Medeiros until today’s 2 p.m. quarterfinals, when the Warriors will face second-seeded Mid-Pacific (10-2), the Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion.
Losing pitcher Cody Academa held Waiakea in check early on for the Mules (6-11), the Oahu Interscholastic Association’s fourth-place team.
But Waiakea eventually found its feet at the plate.
Guillermo started the rally in the fourth with a single and a steal of second. Medeiros belted a double to put Waiakea ahead, and Nishiura, a senior, followed with a two-run double.
Nishiura finished with three RBIs, adding a run-scoring single in the fifth. Medeiros drove in three runs and scored three times, and Guillermo and senior Andy Filoteo each scored twice. Filoteo ended the game by making a nice diving catch in right-center field.
Freitas-Fields’ final two at-bats produced an RBI double and a two-run single.
Freshman Calvin Uemura struck out a batter in an inning of relief in the seventh.
“We’ll try to come out and be a little more aggressive against Mid-Pac,” Yee said, “and not worry about the name on the jersey.”
Waiakea 000 333 5— 14 13 4
Leilehua 000 210 0 — 3 5 4