WAIMEA — Little by little, senior Ryan Jarvill increased his role this season for Hawaii Preparatory Academy.
Early on, he ate up innings pitching against some of the smaller schools in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation.
By Monday, he was ready to be an unassuming if not unlikely hero on the big stage.
Jarvill drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, then he came on to get the save as Ka Makani edged Konawaena 5-4 in the an elimination game of the BIIF baseball semifinals.
“Just playing my part,” Jarvill said. “That’s what makes us a good team.”
HPA (10-3) can reach the Hawaii High School Athletic Association tournament if top-seeded Kamehameha beats Honokaa in the other Division II semifinal series, which begins today. The best-of-three championship series starts May 6 with a doubleheader at Hilo’s Wong Stadium.
Jarvill played baseball growing up in Alaska, but he didn’t play in high school until this year.
“He’s been hurt, but he’s kind of our secret weapon,” HPA coach Jordan Hayslip said. “We knew he was a good pitcher and a good hitter. He just had to battle through injuries. Really proud of him and happy for him.”
Lii Purdy homered for HPA, which made the most of its five hits in Game 3 by taking advantage of three key Konawaena errors.
Relieving DJ Sekiya, Koa Ellis got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth to preserve a 3-3 tie, and the junior pitched three innings and allowed a run to earn the victory.
“I just threw strikes and let my defense do the work,” Ellis said. “We executed on defense.”
The Wildcats (7-6) couldn’t say the same, losing to HPA for the third time in four tries this season.
In the third, Ian Rice singled with one out, and then he scored all the way from first after Konawaena made two throwing errors on a pickoff play.
“I told our guys the team that throws the ball the most usually loses,” Konawaena coach Dave Distel said. “Classic game. They made the plays and we made some crucial errors. We hit the ball right hard but right at people.
“Give HPA credit. They come through in the clutch.”
Another throwing error also allowed Ka Makani to add an insurance run in the sixth, which became all the bigger in the bottom half of the inning when Shelton Grace led off with his third hit and scored on a groundout to cut the deficit to 5-4.
With runners on second and third, Ellis induced a groundout to end the threat.
Konawaena’s Jordan Miyahira-Young collected his second hit of the game to lead off the seventh. But Ellis, who was on a pitch count after working in Friday’s doubleheader split, got a double play groundout before giving way to Jarvill, who retired the Wildcats’ best hitter, Evyn Yamaguchi.
“We had him, we saved him,” Ellis said. “Coach said he’s the difference.”
Grace, who took the loss with three innings in relief of starter Logan Canda, singled in the fourth, and a courtesy runner scored on a wild pitch to tie the score 3-3.
It stayed that way until the sixth, when Mike Nakahara, Kalan Camero and Jarvill bunched together singles.
“I was just looking for a pitch I could hit,” Jarvill said, “and the first pitch was the one I wanted.”
Canda overcame an early bout of wildness after walking in a run in the first. In four innings, he allowed three runs (two earned), two hits and three walks with two strikeouts.
Sekiya yielded four hits and three runs with three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.
Skye Suzuki provided a two-out run scoring single in the second off Sekiya and finished with two RBIs.
Purdy drove in two runs for Ka Makani, including a blast in the fourth that cleared the fence in left field.
“Great shot for him and a big boost for the team,” Hayslip said. “It’s always a morale boost when you hit a home run.
“I like the (best-of-three) format. It has a championship feel.”
HPA 101 102 0 — 5 5 1
Konawaena 020 101 0 — 4 7 3