Kauai’s boys in red have knocked off the defending Division II state champion.
The unseeded Kauai High School varsity baseball team defeated No. 1 Kamehameha Schools-Hawaii in the semifinals of the Wally Yonimine Foundation Baseball Championships – Division II state tournament.
The Red Raiders (12-3, 10-3 KIF) defeated the Warriors of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation, 2-1, in extra innings Friday at Les Murakami Stadium in Honolulu.
“We held our own. We just had to be close to have a chance,” said Kauai head coach Hank Ibia in a phone interview Friday. “Our pitchers did well. They kept us in the game. They made one mistake at the end, and we took advantage of that.”
Kauai will try to get its third D2 state title against No. 3 Damien Memorial of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu in the championship final at 4 p.m. today at Les Murakami Stadium.
Damien defeated Hawaii Prep of the BIIF in five innings, 14-3, in the semifinals Friday. Play ended after five innings because of the 10-run rule.
“I don’t know too much about them. I just know they’re hot right now,” Ibia said. “They had to beat Saint Francis, I think, three or four times in the season to get here. They won two good games (in the tournament).”
The Red Raiders have won Division II championships in 2008 and 2011 — both with Ibia as head coach.
Tied 1-1 going into the top of the 10th inning, the Red Raiders scored the go-ahead run off a Warriors error.
With two outs and runners on first and third base, Red Raiders junior catcher Skyler Sadora reached on a fielder’s choice, and an errant throw allowed sophomore infielder Tyler Oshima to reach home plate from third.
“He should have thrown to first because it was two outs,” Ibia. “He was going to first, and then he turned around and threw to second. I don’t know what he was thinking about, but he threw it away.”
“That’s the game of baseball. Anything can happen,” he added. “It could go against us. It could go with us, you know what I mean? So, it’s part of the game. Just today was our day.”
With two runners on and two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Warriors junior relief pitcher Kyran Kai — who started the game at infielder — drove a liner to right field.
Red Raiders junior outfielder Ethan Gray made the catch for the final out to eliminate the No. 1 seed and secure Kauai High a berth in the Division II championship game.
“Just staying together and trusting each other. I’ve seen a lot of character come out now, at this time of the year,” Ibia said. “That’s what you’re looking for in a baseball team — to see their character and being about teamwork, and being a team. We’re in a right place right now. Tomorrow, it should be OK for us.”
Kauai first got on the board in the second inning off an RBI double to left-center field by junior starting pitcher Christian Manera. Sophomore infielder Jacob Borrero scored from third base off Manera’s hit.
KS-Hawaii leveled the score in the bottom of the second inning. Warriors senior infielder Kobie Kinzie knocked a sacrifice fly to center field to score sophomore infielder Dustin Asuncion from third.
Kauai High scored two runs on six hits, left 10 runners on base and recorded one error. Manera was 1-4 with the RBI double in the second. Senior infielder Sam Nakata was 2-4 with a couple of singles.
Red Raiders sophomore relief pitcher Ricky Rego was the winning pitcher. He went 3 1/3 innings without allowing a hit, and had one strikeout, four walks and one hit-by-pitch.
KS-Hawaii got one run on four hits, left seven runners on and committed three errors. Kinzie was 1-3.
Kai took the loss for the Warriors. He went 1 2/3 innings and allowed the one unearned run on one hit. He struck out two and walked one.
Other Division II results from Friday at Hans L’Orange Field are:
Consolation semifinal: Molokai (MIL) 3, Radford (OIA) 1
Consolation semifinal: Farrington (OIA) 7, Waianae (OIA) 4
Information from Hawaii High School Athletic Association.