BIIF baseball: Yamaguchi’s home run propels Wildcats past Cowboys 5-1


Like any good hitter, Konawaena’s Evyn Yamaguchi belted the ball, put his head down and ran as fast as he could. Yamaguchi only slowed down when he heard the cheers. High school goes by pretty quick, after all, and it was time to soak it all in on Senior Day in Kealakekua.

Yamaguchi homered and Shelton Grace gutted out a four-hitter Friday to lead the Wildcats past Kohala 5-1 in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation baseball game at Gabby Inaba Field.

“I was just planning on hitting the ball somewhere hard,” Yamaguchi said of turning on a 2-0 fastball in the fourth inning. “I didn’t think it was going over the fence.”

But when the ball did hit the weeds beyond the center field fence, Yamaguchi — like any good slugger — enjoyed his home run trot.

“Maybe luck happened,” he said.

Senior Dishon Cho raced all the way around the bases in the fifth when his scorching single to right center was misplayed for a three-base error as Konawaena (6-2) stayed on the heels of Hawaii Preparatory Academy and Kamehameha in the Division II race.

“Dishon was flying,” Konawaena head coach Dave Distel said.

The crisp game went by almost as fast, lasting less than 90 minutes thanks to the pitching of Grace and Cowboys left-hander Tate Fernandez.

Hitting his spots and featuring his curveball, Grace struck out six and walked two. The only run he allowed came on Steven Medeiros’ RBI single in the fifth.

Yamaguchi helped Grace get out of a jam by gunning down a would-be base stealer to end the sixth.

“Shelton was at the top of his game.” Yamaguchi said.

Fernandez didn’t issue a walk and hung tough through six innings, yielding six hits and three earned runs with one strikeout for Kohala (3-5). He retired the final five batters he faced.

“He battled,” coach Pono Nakamura said. Each of Konawaena’s six seniors — Yamaguchi, Cho, Jordan Miyahira-Young, Kea Miyahira-Young, Race Gustafson and Zane Gray — started.

Jordan Miyahira-Young finished with two hits, including an RBI single to drive in Gray in the fifth. In the first, Gustafson was hit by a pitch, stole second, and scored on Logan Canda’s hit.

“This senior class, they love the game of baseball,” Distel said. “That’s what I like about them.”

The Wildcats ace right-hander Jordan Miyahira-Young will likely get the start Wednesday when the Wildcats visit Waimea for a Division II showdown against HPA. The Wildcats, Ka Makani (7-0) and Warriors (6-1-1) are trying to sort out who will host BIIF semifinals.

Fourth-place Kohala controls its playoff destiny with games on tap next week against Honokaa and Pahoa.

Kohala 000 010 0 — 1 4 2

Konawaena 200 210 x — 5 6 0

Honokaa 6, Kealakehe 5

Austin Jardine hit a three-run homer and raced home with the winning run on a wild pitch to lift the Dragons (3-5) to a win over the D-I Waveriders (3-6).

Jardine clubbed his home run in the bottom of the first inning and Honokaa added a run in the second to go up 4-1. But Kealakehe scored a run in the third and two in the fourth to tie the game at 4-4.

In the fifth, Ikena Juan reached on a bunt and Jardine was intentionally walked. Juan then scored on Nainoa Faulk’s run-scoring single to right to make it 5-4. Jardine sprinted home on a wild pitch to stretch the lead to 6-4.

The Waveriders scored a run in the seventh before Dragon reliever Jonathan Charbonneau retired the side. Charbonneau got the win. Kealakehe reliever Sage Valenzuela took the loss.

Pohaku Dela Cruz led Kealakehe with three hits.

Kealakehe 101 200 1 — 5 10 3

Honokaa 310 020 x — 6 6 2

Kamehameha 10, Ka‘u 0

Matthew Chun had three hits and three RBIs and Micah Carter and Alika Young each had two hits and two RBIs to lead the host Warriors (6-1-1) over the Trojans (1-6).

Keahi Serrao had Ka‘u’s lone hit, a single.

Kamehameha starter Kobi Candaroma pitched five innings, allowing one hit and no runs with six strikeouts. He earned the win with an inning of hitless relief from Jordan Hirae (2 strikeouts).

Serrao started for the Trojans and went four innings. He gave up five hits and five runs, and took the loss.

Ka‘u 000 000 — 0

Kamehameha 211 141 — 10

Pahoa 6, Keaau 4

Tryson Kenui pitched a complete game and keyed a

first-inning rally with a two-run single in Pahoa, paving the way for the Daggers’ first win of the season.

Kenui struck out five and gave up five hits and only two earned runs with two walks.

Pahoa (1-7) mustered only three hits but took advantage of five hit batters and five Cougars errors.

Justin Quesada was 3 for 4 with a double and two runs scored for Keaau (1-7).

Losing pitcher Keian Kanetani hit four batters and allowed three hits and six runs (three earned). He walked two, and struck out four.

Keaau 2 0 1 0 0 0 1 — 4 5 5

Pahoa 4 1 0 1 0 0 0 — 6 3 6

Waiakea 2, Hilo 1

Kodi Medeiros struck out 14 and the Warriors scored two unearned runs in the fifth inning to grab sole possession of first place in the BIIF D-1 standings.

Medeiros allowed a run on five hits and one walk. Two of his punchouts caused an uproar from the Viking faithful when a batter struck out, with runners on base, but was hit by a pitch, including the sixth with the bases loaded.

Hilo starter Jalen Carvalho took a tough loss. In six innings, he gave up two unearned runs on four hits and three walks, and struck out six. His defense committed four errors, including two in the pivotal fifth.

Carvalho batted 2 for 3 with an RBI. No other Viking paired hits.

Hilo 001 000 0 - 1 5 4

Waiakea 000 020 x - 2 4 0