Kauai High School’s varsity baseball team defeated No. 4 Molokai of the Maui Interscholastic League in the opening round of the Wally Yonamine Foundation Baseball Championships – Division II state tournament.
The Red Raiders (11-3, 10-3 KIF) defeated the Farmers, 4-3, in eight innings Thursday at Hans L’Orange Field in Waipahu.
“It was pretty close. We treated them like they were No. 1 also,” said Kauai High varsity baseball head coach Hank Ibia in a phone interview Thursday. “They’re a good team. They pitched well. We had threw three pitchers. It was a struggle. Both teams played well.”
Kauai will face No. 1 Kamehameha Schools-Hawaii of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation at 10 a.m. today at Les Murakami Stadium in Honolulu.
KS-Hawaii defeated Radford of the Oahu Interscholastic Association, 8-0, Thursday.
“Kamehameha’s tough. Last year, they won the whole thing,” Ibia said. “They got some good returnees coming back. We played them in preseason on Kauai. Whatever happened in the preseason, that happened. But now it’s a different ball game. They got better. We got better. So, we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Tied 3-3 going into the extra inning, Red Raiders sophomore outfielder Blake Probasco squeeze bunted to score junior relief pitcher Christian Manera from third for the go-ahead score. Manera hit a leadoff double to right field and then advanced to third off a wild pitch.
“We hit, but we struggled with men on base at certain times. I said, ‘Eh, you know what? I’m going to take my chances right now,’” Ibia said. “Blake was coming to bat. I’ll just take my chance and see what happens. Everything worked out well.”
In the bottom of the eighth inning with two runners on, Farmers senior infielder Kairos Torres-Umi grounded to the shortstop for a 6-4-3 double play.
After an intentional walk, Farmers junior infielder Nainoa Kaahanui popped up to the pitcher for the final out.
Down 2-1 in the third, Red Raiders junior catcher Skyler Sadora hit an RBI single to center to score senior infielder Sam Nakata from third.
In the following inning, Nakata knocked an RBI single to center field. Sophomore outfielder Hoku Parbo scored from third for the go-ahead run.
Molokai then evened the score in the sixth inning off a solo home run to left field by Farmers senior designated hitter Aaron Rapanot.
“That hit was a bomb. On curveball, I mean a bomb. He whacked them,” Ibia said. “He’s a big guy. He’s about 6’5” and 250. Big boy. He had everything on that.”
“I told them, ‘You know, the game’s not over yet. It’s just a tie game. It’s not a winning home run, you know? So hey, we got to keep our composure,’” he added. “They settled down after I talked to them.”
Kauai High totaled four runs on eight hits and had one error. Nakata was 2-4 with two runs and an RBI.
Manera was the winning pitcher, going 2 1/3 innings while allowing one hit and one walk, and struck out one.
Molokai got three runs on five hits and recorded two errors. Rapanot was 1-2 with the solo shot in the sixth inning.
Farmers junior reliever Shraedon Naeole-Starkey, who started at outfielder, took the loss. He went 3 2/3 innings, allowed one run on two hits and had one wild pitch.
Other Division II results are:
Hawaii Prep 3, No. 2 Waianae 1
No. 3 Damien Memorial (15-5 ILH D2) vs. Farrington (10-3 OIA D2), 7 p.m. Results not available by press time.
Information from Hawaii High School Athletic Association.