Hilo pitcher Joey Jarneski hit Kealakehe’s leadoff batters in the first and second innings, then watched them come around to score.
The Vikings were in an early hole, but Jarneski had something invaluable: an extra bit of knowledge — and the freshman’s learning curve is getting flatter with each outing.
Jarneski flashed his ace-like potential Saturday, tossing 6 1/3 strong innings in Hilo’s 5-2 victory in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I baseball game at Wong Stadium.
“He battled back from adversity,” Hilo coach Tony Desa said. “He’s going to be good. He learned quick. While he was pitching today he learned a lot about himself.
“He’s learning to trust his defense and pitch to contact. He’s definitely a future ace.”
Jarneski says he’s been comfortable mixing his three pitches since he was 9, and he had his full repertoire working against the Waveriders (3-4), allowing just four hits and a walk with six strikeouts for his second win this season.
His biggest takeaway from a game which could serve as a playoff preview?
“Just keep throwing hard and throw strikes and let my defense do the work,” he said. “You’ve got to throw strikes all the time. You cannot let the leadoff batter get on base.”
The Vikings (4-1-1) hardly knocked the cover off the ball against Zaynan Sanchez. Hilo went ahead 3-2 in the third when two Kealakehe errors were sandwiched around Jalen’s Carvalho’s single.
“Zaynan was throwing really good,” said Hilo’s Jodd Carter, who finished with two hits, including an RBI single in the fourth. “Our hits fell in the right spots.”
Meanwhile, one would-be hit for Kealakehe fell in the wrong spot. In the fifth, Carter took Hunter Cuaresma’s liner to center on one hop and threw him out at first base.
“Maybe when I was 9 or 10 I did that, but not in a while,” Carter said.
Hilo’s Noah Serrao made a diving catch in shallow right to rob Duke Tamaye of a hit to end the fifth.
Josiah Factora roped a two-out double in the second to bring in a run for Hilo. In the fourth, Factora moved Conrad Kauffman to third on a groundout, which came in handy when Kauffman scored on a wild pitch. Kauffman finished with a hit, walked twice and scored two runs.
Kealakehe coach Josh Hansen praised Sanchez for battling despite not having his best stuff and being let down by his defense.
“That’s basically what it was,” said Hansen, who spent three years as an assistant under Joey Estrella at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. “Neither team hit the ball very hard.
“We were trying to work counts, but (Jarneski) threw a lot of strikes.”
Sanchez worked four innings and yielded five runs — three earned — on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Kealakehe right fielder Hamlin Sigrah helped Sanchez by throwing out a runner in the fourth. An inning later, Sigrah threw out a runner trying to get to third.
Sanchez doubled in a run in the first, and Sigrah singled down the right-field line to give Kealakehe a 2-0 lead.
But Jarneski was stingy after the second, allowing only three base runners before Kaiden Cox came on to get the final two outs.
“It’s pretty easy when you can trust your defense,” Jarneski said.
Kealakehe 110 000 0 — 2 4 3
Hilo 012 200 x — 5 7 1
Waiakea 12, Honokaa 0
Kodi Medeiros struck out 10 in four innings, and Calvin Uemura finished the five-inning no-hitter for the host Warriors, who remained in first place in Division I.
Medeiros hit a two-run triple in the first inning, and Waiakea (5-1) tacked on eight runs in the second.
Matt Camacho went 2 for 2 with a double and an RBI, while Caleb Freitas-Fields, Taylor Mondina and Nathan Minami drove in two runs apiece. Freitas-Fields and Mondina each collected doubles.
Caden Perreira-Lau was hurt by three errors in taking the loss for the Dragons (2-4). He allowed 10 hits, 12 runs — four earned — with three walks and a strikeout.
Uemura recorded one strikeout.
Honokaa 000 00 — 0 0 4
Waiakea 381 0x — 12 11 1
HPA 13, Pahoa 0
Lii Purdy’s run-scoring triple started off Ka Makani’s 12-run second in Waimea, and Braden Kojima hit a two-run double and finished with three RBIs in the inning as Ka Makani remained undefeated.
Lii Purdy finished 2 for 2 with two RBIs and two runs scored for HPA (6-0), and Ryan Jarvill collected two hits with a walk.
Koa Ellis started and struck out five batters in the first two hitless innings against the Daggers (0-6).
Pahoa 000 00 — 0 1 3
HPA 1(12)0 0 — 13 9 1
Konawaena 13, Ka‘u 2
Logan Canda pitched three smooth innings to go along with a two-run single at the plate in Kealakekua, and Zane Gray hit a two-run home run to power the Wildcats.
Konawaena (4-2) broke the game open during a seven-run second inning in which it took advantage of four walks, two wild pitches and a hit batter.
Gray finished 2 for 2 and Evyn Yamaguchi had an RBI double.
Canda, who scored three runs, struck out six and allowed two unearned runs against the Trojans (1-5) on two hits and a walk. Tanner Gray relieved and pitched two hitless innings with a walk and three strikeouts.
Ka‘u 200 00 — 2 2 2
Konawaena 200 0x — 13 7 2
Kohala at Kamehameha
The game was rescheduled for 3 p.m. Monday at Wong Stadium.