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BIIF baseball: Ace rights Viks’ ship

Updated: 
April 15, 2017 - 12:05am

Hilo ace Joey Jarneski had dominant stuff on a night when every clutch pitch mattered against Waiakea, which kept waiting for any small crack of opportunity.

The door rarely opened. When it did, Jarneski quickly slammed it shut with his arsenal of corner-painting fastballs and big-breaking curveballs.

The senior right-hander fired a three-hitter as the Vikings defeated the Warriors 2-1 in Game 1 of the BIIF Division I championship series on Friday night at Wong Stadium, where entertaining, fundamentally sound ball was on display.

Since 2012 when Waiakea won the HHSAA state title, the two crosstown rivals have traded BIIF crowns. According to history, it’s Hilo’s turn this year. The Viks (13-2) have won in the odd-numbered years: 2013 and ’15.

The Warriors (14-1) won’t have Makoa Andres, who threw 97 pitches in a losing effort, if a Game 3 on Monday is necessary. For pitch counts of 61 to 85 pitches, a pitcher is required to rest two consecutive days.

Jarneski finished with 82 pitches and looked confident and relaxed all night long. He was sharp with his command and struck out seven. Even better, he walked none and allowed only one free pass, a hit batter.

“Joey threw a gem,” Hilo coach Tony De Sa said. “With two strikes, he did really well with his curve. He kept it away from the hitters, and they couldn’t get good swings at it. I’m glad we played defense and put things together, but we’ve got another game to play.”

Jarneski gave up a run in the third when he hit Curren Inouye and later made his lone mistake of the game when he hung a curveball to Trayden Tamiya, who had an RBI single. On a 1-1 count, Jarneski snapped a 12-to-6 downward curve that Tamiya swung over.

Jarneski doubled down, but the ball was a bit high, and Tamiya golfed a single to left field. From there, Jarneski threw goose eggs and at one point retired seven in a row.

Meanwhile, Andres looked shaky from the start. He didn’t have fastball command and threw 21 pitches in the first inning when he allowed an early run.

In the first, Stone Miyao walked, and Nick Antony singled to right-center field on a hit-and-run, which sent Miyao to third. On a 1-2 count, Chase Costa-Ishii hit a hanging curveball to left field for a 1-0 lead.

Andres retired the side in the second against the bottom of the order but created brush fires every inning after that.

In the fifth, Andres recorded two outs against the top of the lineup, Micah Bello and Miyao, but gave up a single to Jarneski, walked Antony and beaned Costa-Ishii to load the bases. Ryan Ragual had an RBI walk before Andres escaped with a strikeout.

It wasn’t only Jarneski who got into a nice groove, but the top of Hilo’s lineup and defense as well.

Bello went 2 for 4, Miyao was 0 for 2 but had two walks, and Antony batted 3 for 3 with an RBI, driving the ball to right center twice. That’s his comfort zone.

Jarneski, the No. 3 hitter, was 1 for 4. Bello is the leadoff hitter, Miyao the No. 2 batter, and Antony the cleanup hitter.

“I found my swing,” Antony said. “My swing is naturally to right center and coach (Tony De Sa) made a great call on the hit-and-run (in the first). I thought Joey threw a gem. He made pitches when he needed to, and the defense backed him up.”

Hilo’s hitting was timely, the defense was flawless, but the night belonged to Jarneski, who throws two types of curveballs — one over the top and another that acts like slider with sweeping action.

“My fastball velo was not up as much, and I had to mix up my pitches more,” he said. “I was talking to my dad (Stacey) and the last time I played against Waiakea (in a 9-3 loss) I was more of a thrower. Tonight I was more of a pitcher.”

Jarneski not only looked like a well-rounded pitcher but a big-game ace as well.

Hilo 100 010 0 — 2 8 0

Waiakea 001 000 0 — 1 3 0

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