With a chance to complete some unfinished business, Damien left no doubt.
A year after being denied its first state championship in the HHSAA Division II title game by Kauai, the Monarchs downed Radford 12-0 in a five-inning mercy rule victory to finish the job.
“Just proud of these guys. They deserve it,” Damien coach Timo Donahue said. “I think they played very well. They were loose. They’ve been here before so I think that helped us.”
The Monarchs (15-7) had nine hits, led by Shiloh Kaeo’s 2-for-3 performance with a double and three RBIs. They were also helped by four Radford errors.
FINAL: Damien 12, Radford 0, 5 inn. Damien wins its first state baseball championship. pic.twitter.com/otFIBt5sdc
— Hawaii Prep World (@HawaiiPrepWorld) May 12, 2018
“It’s just unbelievable. We worked so hard to get to this point,” Kaeo said. “Damien’s a school that’s battled through so much adversity and we’re proud to bring it home to all the fans.”
With a 4-0 lead entering the third inning, Damien broke the game open with a seven-run inning that totaled five hits and three walks. The Monarchs added one more run in the bottom of the fourth when Kaeo drove in Kaysen Kajiwara with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Damien starter Bryce Uyeno was masterful in 4 2/3 innings of work, holding the Rams (13-3) to just one hit to go with two walks and two strikeouts in 54 pitches. He was also buoyed by a defense behind him that was especially sharp and didn’t commit an error.
“They weren’t behind me, they were with me. Everything was in sync from the infield to the outfield,” Uyeno said. “We played as a team today and that’s just what Damien is.”
With two down in the top of the fifth and one out away from finishing his gem and his team’s journey to its first state title, Uyeno was pulled in favor of Chayne Wayton, a senior.
“Wayton’s been hurt most of the year and we were trying to see when’s a good time to get him into the game,” Donahue said. “He’s still recovering from an injury but we wanted to make sure that he got out there.”
Uyeno, who is a junior, was more than fine with the pitching change.
“I’m OK with that. He’s a senior, he deserves it,” Uyeno said. “He’s been on this team for a long time. All these seniors, I’m happy for everybody.”
The heartbreaking 5-4 loss to Kauai, a game that the Monarchs were three outs away from winning, lingered with the team during the offseason.
Damien won three games in as many days to win the state tournament, but it had to beat St. Francis four times in a row just to win the ILH and qualify.
“We’re used to it already,” Kaeo said. “Put us in the junk-est position and we overcome that and we just proved it tonight.”
The Monarchs played seven consecutive do-or-die games, and after the last one on Friday at Les Murakami Stadium, the coronation ensued. Players dogpiled between the mound and second base, and Donahue was doused with water during a live TV interview. After receiving their state championship medals, the team linked arms and sang the school’s alma mater in front of its fans.
“Coming into this season, we all had a chip on our shoulder. Damien’s always thought of as a second place school,” Kaeo said. “We lost in football, we lost in basketball and last year we lost in baseball.
“We just wanted to prove it to the whole island that Damien, we’re something.”
|1||May 9||(4) Molokai vs. Farrington||Far, 12-8||Hans L'Orange Park|
|2||May 9||(3) Kapaa vs. Waianae||Kapa, 9-3||Hans L'Orange Park|
|3||May 9||(1) Damien vs. Konawaena||DMS, 11-1 (5)||Hans L'Orange Park|
|4||May 9||(2) KS-Hawaii vs. Radford||Rad, 6-4||Hans L'Orange Park|
|5*||May 10||Konawaena vs. Molokai||Kona, 6-1||Hans L'Orange Park|
|6*||May 10||KS-Hawaii vs. Waianae||KSH, 7-3||Hans L'Orange Park|
|7||May 10||Damien vs. Farrington||DMS, 8-3||Les Murakami Stadium|
|8||May 10||Radford vs. Kapaa||Rad, 3-2 (8)||Les Murakami Stadium|
|9*||May 11||Konawaena vs. KS-Hawaii||KSH, 7-3||Les Murakami Stadium|
|10*||May 11||Farrington vs. Kapaa||Kap, 7-6||Les Murakami Stadium|
|11||May 11||Damien vs. Radford||DMS, 12-0 (5)||Les Murakami Stadium|
|* — consolation|