Hawaii Preparatory Academy freshman Braden Kojima entered Wednesday’s contest against Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I power Waiakea with just two regular-season games under his belt, but the Ka Makani second baseman didn’t fall victim to rookie jitters.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Kojima hit a sacrifice fly to center field with the bases loaded, bringing in the winning run and giving HPA (3-0) a 9-8 victory over the Warriors (2-1) at home.
“I’m very happy for Braden. It was a special moment for him,” HPA head coach Jordan Hayslip said. “It was a great baseball game all around. Waiakea has a great program and great players, so this is a big win for us.”
Koa Ellis recorded the win for Ka Makani, pitching two innings and allowing three earned runs. DJ Sekiya started on the mound for HPA, tossing five innings, allowing four hits and five runs.
“DJ pitched really well, and we made the basic plays early on,” Hayslip said. “DJ gets us a lot of balls in play — ground ball, fly balls — and the guys did a good job making plays on those balls”
Sekiya hit the most consistently from the plate for Ka Makani, going 3-of-4 with a run scored. Kojima hit just 1-of-4, but knocked in two RBIs.
Bryson Nakao took the loss for Waiakea. Sophomore Bryce Yamashita started the game, going five innings and allowing six runs. Kodi Medeiros hit 1-of-3, with a double and a walk for the Warriors.
HPA ramped up its offense early, seizing a 6-0 lead in the first inning by taking advantage of four walks from Yamashita. Ka Makani could have brought in a few more runs to pad its lead, but shaky base running ended the inning.
The large cushion did not last long. Waiakea rallied for three runs in the top of the second, cutting HPA’s lead in half.
The game took a defensive turn after both pitchers settled down. Only one run came in between the two teams in a three-inning stretch.
HPA took a 7-3 lead into the sixth, but Waiakea’s bats were far from done. After two consecutive walks by Sekiya to start the inning, Hayslip gave the ball to his ace, Ellis.
Ellis nearly got Ka Makani out of the inning, but a hit to the outfield wall by Gehrig Octavio brought in two runs, narrowing the HPA lead to 7-5. The hit was a guaranteed double for Octavio, but he attempted to stretch it into a triple, getting caught in a pickle for the second out. A fly out from the next batter concluded the inning.
HPA failed to add any runs in the bottom of the sixth, and Ellis and company found themselves in a jam to start the seventh.
Medeiros began a Waiakea rally with a deep double, and then two walks loaded the bases. Waiakea took its first lead of the game on an excellently executed sacrifice bunt by Trevor Shimakusu to bring in Matt Camacho from third base.
Facing its first deficit of the game, HPA rose to the occasion in the final inning. Cyrus Inglis led off the bottom of the seventh with a solid line drive, and Lii Purdy found his way on base after getting hit by a pitch. Next up was left fielder Kalan Camero, who has a reputation of converting in high-pressure situations with the HPA basketball team. Camero hit a laser down the third base line that the fielder could not control to load the bases and set the stage for Kojima.
“I’m so proud of the way all these guys battled back,” Hayslip said. ” This win is a nice confidence booster, but we have a long season ahead of us, and we have to keep playing consistent.”
Waiakea 030 002 3 — 8 6 2
HPA 600 010 2 — 9 7 1
Konawaena 11, Keaau 1
Jordan Miyahira-Young pitched five solid innings and the Wildcats were balanced and opportunistic in earning a TKO victory in Kealakekua.
Evyn Yamaguchi singled to center to drive in two runs as eight players finished with a hit apiece for Konawaena, including doubles by Jordan Miyahira-Young and Kea-Miyahira Young. Race Gustafson was 1-for-1 with two walks and scored three runs.
The Wildcats scored in each inning and three runners crossed the plate on wild pitches. Keaau committed five errors.
Royce Torres-Torioka’s RBI single with one out in the fifth ended the game.
Jordan Miyahira-Young didn’t walk a batter. The senior right-hander struck out two and allowed only four hits with two strikeouts.
Justin Quesada was the losing pitcher for the Cougars (0-4), giving up seven runs — three earned — on three hits and seven walks with two strikeouts. At the plate, he doubled.
Keaau 000 10 — 1 4 5
Konawaena 212 42 — 11 8 2
Kamehameha 13, Kealakehe 1
The Warriors (3-0) took advantage of seven Waverider errors to remain undefeated in BIIF play.
Chay Toson recorded the win for Kamehameha.
Pokahu Dela Cruz took the loss for Kealakehe (2-2), pitching 4 1/3 innings, allowing three hits. Sage Valenzuela also contributed 1 2/3 innings, giving up one hit.
Kamehameha broke the game open in the final inning. Kealakehe allowed nine runs on seven hits and three errors in the final stanza.
“Pohaku pitched as well as I have seen him pitch and he gave us a chance to win,” Kealakehe head coach Josh Hansen said. “Our defense did not make routine plays and our bats didn’t show up. Kamehameha did a good job of capitalizing on our mistakes, and that was the difference.”
Kamehameha will host Waiakea on Friday. Kealakehe is scheduled to take on crosstown rival Konawaena at 3 p.m..
“Come Friday, we need to minimize our defensive mistakes and be a little better at the plate if we plan on competing with another top BIIF team,” Hansen said.
Kamehameha — 13 11 0
Kealakehe — 1 1 7
Kohala 9, Ka‘u 2
Chance Pang, Kealan Figueroa and Troy Castillo collected two hits apiece to power the Cowboys, who won in Kapaau to even their record at 2-2.
Figueroa and Pang each finished with two RBIs, and Willy Perez doubled and drove in three runs. Castillo scored a run and finished with an RBI.
Ricky Ching worked four innings to get the victory
The Trojans fell to 0-3.
Hilo 6, Honokaa 0
Freshman Joey Jarneski pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings and Isaiah Banasan and Jodd Carter hit home runs to lift the visiting Vikings (2-1).
Jarneski struck out seven and only gave up a walk and two hits.
Carter and Jalen Carvalho each finished with two hits.
Halana Birch took the loss for the Dragons (2-2), yielding two runs and four walks with two strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Kelvin Faulk and Ikena Juan had Honokaa’s hits.
Hilo 000 203 1 — 6 8 0
Honokaa 000 000 0 — 0 2 0
By Stephens Media Hawaii sources