The Big Island Interscholastic Federation has some funky or logical rules, depending on one’s perspective. One states that a regular-season baseball game that starts during the day without lights must finish that way, even when darkness is approaching. If the score is tied, after seven or more innings, that’s the way things end.
Hilo and Kamehameha tied 3-3 after eight innings in a BIIF game Wednesday at Wong Stadium, with Vikings’ coach Tony Desa, Warriors’ coach Andy Correa and the umpires agreeing to call it a day at 5:32 p.m., throwing a monkey wrench into the league standings.
In fairness to other schools, a tied game after seven innings is called to darkness and not continued the next day because Wong Stadium is the only site that has lights. Suspended or incomplete games are continued, just not games called because of darkness or approaching darkness, which was the case Wednesday.
The BIIF regular-season champion earns the first berth to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state tournament if the league has two spots.
The tie drastically affects both the Division I Vikings (3-1-1), who are chasing Waiakea (3-1), and the Division II Warriors (3-1-1), who are behind Hawaii Preparatory Academy (5-0).
Basically, the Vikings tied the game with only one hit and a costly Warrior error, putting a damper on a brilliant pitching effort by Kamehameha starter Chay Toson, who went five-plus innings of no-hit, one-run ball, with two walks and three strikeouts.
The senior left-hander left in the sixth after he walked Micah Kaaukai and threw two balls to Isaiah Banasan. Toson was replaced by Jordan Hirae, who walked Jodd Carter and gave up a two-run double to Noah Serrao.
The Hilo junior outfielder kept his hands back on a 1-2 changeup and stroked it to left field to cut Kamehameha’s lead to 3-2. One batter later, Conrad Kauffman dribbled a grounder to shortstop Daylen Calicdan, who backhanded the ball, and made a strong throw to first base.
But the ball was dropped and an unearned run tied the game, 3-3.
Hirae went three innings, allowed two runs, one unearned, on two hits and two walks and struck out three.
If patience is a virtue, it is also part of the Warriors’ offensive attack. They took pitches, even down in the count, and forced Hilo starter Jalen Carvalho to throw 93 pitches over five innings, including 31 in the first.
That’s when Matt Chun’s plate discipline helped Kamehameha take a 2-0 lead. The senior left fielder drew an eight-pitch walk, and scored on a throwing error after the bases were loaded. Calicdan had an RBI single for the other run.
In the fifth, the Warriors used their base-running savvy to score another run, after Kobi Candaroma singled and Makoa Rosario was intentionally walked.
Then the cat-and-mouse game began.
Hirae flashed bunt, Hilo’s third baseman charged in, and Candaroma easily stole an unoccupied third base. Kamehameha kept the pressure on with a double-steal attempt. Rosario, a catcher with good wheels, stole second on a delay.
As soon as the throw went to second base, Candaroma raced home and scored for a 3-0 lead after Hilo’s second baseman dropped the ball for another unearned run charged to Carvalho, who went five innings, gave up three runs, two unearned, on five hits and five walks with one strikeout.
Then the Vikings turned the ball over to their bullpen and had shutout relief pitching. Jordan Tagawa tossed one perfect inning, and Carter fired two innings with one hit and two punchouts.
Hilo was patient, too, waiting until the sixth to score all of their runs. As far as taking pitches, the Vikings made Toson throw only 62 pitches through five innings or 31 fewer pitches against Carvalho at the same point.
Serrao went 1-for-4 with two RBIs to lead Hilo’s two-hit attack. Joey Jarneski had the only other hit, a single in the seventh off Hirae.
Rosario batted 2-for-3 to lead the Warriors, who had five hits but went 4-for-4 on steal attempts.
Kamehameha 200 010 00 — 3 5 1
Hilo 000 003 00 — 3 2 2