LIHUE — In the school’s first appearance at states since 2012, this year’s Kauai Interscholastic Federation representative started its tournament run in a big way.
Waimea High School’s varsity baseball team defeated Molokai High School of the Maui Interscholastic League in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Wally Yonamine Foundation Baseball Championships-Division II state tournament.
The Menehune defeated the Farmers, 20-5, Thursday night at Vidinha Stadium. Play ended after the top of the fifth inning because of the 10-run mercy rule.
“Not imagining scoring this much runs in my first state tournament,” said Waimea first-year head coach Chad Delanoza. “I think we were looking for a tight match. They gave us a lot of opportunities, and we took advantage of it. That’s basically how the state tournament goes. If you don’t take advantage, they’ll take advantage of you. We were lucky to get some breaks and score some runs.”
Waimea, the No. 4 seed, will face No. 1 Kamehameha Schools-Hawaii of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation in the semifinals tonight. That game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Vidinha Stadium.
“I think when you get to the state tournament, you always want to play the best team. Right now, Kamehameha is the best team,” Delanoza said. “A good friend of my mine is on that staff. He’s a Waimea High School alumni, Buddy Ayudan. It’s nice to see him here back home, and yet get a chance to play his great team that’s done so well up on the Big Island. For us, we’re still learning and growing. It’s another step for us to better ourselves.”
Carrying a 7-5 lead going into the bottom of the fourth inning, Waimea scored 13 runs on nine hits and took advantage of four Molokai errors.
Waimea outfielder Levi Snowden had a two-RBI single, an RBI single and scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Menehune infielder Kristian “Ariki” Cardejon, infielder Deiton Otoman, infielder Lacin Montemayor and outfielder Noa Aquino each also drove in a run.
“This first game was very important to us to build momentum in the tournament,” Cardejon said. “In the beginning, we were kind of shaky and nervous. Toward the end of the game, we shook off that nervousness.”
Waimea scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning. Otoman hit an RBI single, and infielder Kaikoa Perreira-Alquiza knocked an RBI triple.
Molokai scored the game’s first run in the top of the first inning off an RBI single by infielder Saven Kaahanui.
The Farmers scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning to cut the deficit to 7-5. Starting pitcher Iokepa Pelekane scored on a Waimea error, outfielder Slater Oswald Kalawe scored on a wild pitch and infielder Laysen Bush drove in an RBI as he grounded to shortstop.
Going into the top of the fifth inning and needing six runs to extend the game into the sixth inning, Molokai had three pinch hitters bat. A strikeout and a couple of groundouts ended the contest.
Waimea got 20 runs on 17 hits and recorded three errors. Cardejon was 4 for 4 hitting for one RBI and scored three runs.
Menehune starting pitcher Max Ham got the win. Ham threw 3 1/3 innings, allowed five runs on three hits and had four strikeouts, two walks and two hit-by-pitches.
Cardejon relieved Ham in the fourth inning. He threw 1 2/3 innings, did not allow a run or a hit and had two strikeouts.
“I think I did pretty good on my part. My team did good on their part, too,” Cardejon said. “We were playing as one, cheering each other on and backing each other up.”
Molokai had five runs on three hits and recorded six errors. Kalawe and catcher Hezekiah Horner each were 1 for 2 and scored a run.
Pelekane took the loss for Molokai. The Farmers starter went 1 2/3 innings, allowed five runs on five hits and had three strikeouts and one hit-by-pitch.
Thursday’s Division II results
Game 1: No. 3 Saint Francis (ILH) 11, Konawaena (BIIF) 5
Game 2: No. 2 Radford (OIA) 11, Seabury Hall (MIL) 1, 5 innings
Game 3: No. 1 KS-Hawaii (BIIF) 12, Waipahu (OIA) 2, 5 innings
Game 4: No. 4 Waimea (KIF) 20, Molokai (MIL) 5, 5 innings
Info from Hawaii High School Athletic Association.
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.