The Damien Monarchs refused to surrender, and with a stunning 7-6 win over No. 6 Kamehameha on Friday afternoon, they’ve kept hopes for a regular-season Division II title alive.
Pinch hitter Milton Gainey III came through with a single to the left-center gap, scoring Mana Cameron with the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Damien’s chances? It’s a long shot. Damien is now 7-5 in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu with one game left in the regular season — against ‘Iolani on Monday at Goeas Field.
St. Francis is 7-4 with games against Kamehameha (Saturday) and Pac-Five (Monday). If the teams finish tied atop the D-II standings, a tiebreaker game will follow.
Sophomore Braden Joines was solid in his first start. Damien was ahead 5-4 in the sixth inning when he left.
“He was awesome. He threw his curve over for strikes,” Monarchs coach Timo Donahue said. “He has no fear.”
For now, the Monarchs are riding momentum. They took advantage of three infield errors by Kamehameha to score five runs in the third inning and seize a 5-1 lead.
Kamehameha already had run-scoring singles from Chaesten Chon and Li’i Pontes when Jonny Shimabukuro smacked a two-run single to left off new pitcher Kaysen Kajiwara to give the Warriors a 6-5 lead.
Joines’ sweeping curve ball was effective enough. He allowed eight hits, struck out three, walked four and hit one batter.
Kamaha’o Arita, in relief of Christian DeJesus, was superb. The right-hander hurled 3 1/3 scoreless innings, permitting just one hit with three strikeouts and one walk.
However, Arita left before the seventh inning. He had thrown 45 pitches.
“I think my coaches might pitch me tomorrow,” he said.
Kapono Rawlins gave up singles to Jordan Donahue and Cameron, and Donahue advanced to third base when center fielder Josiah Pekelo fumbled the ball.
Kamalu Tuasivi then took the mound. Kamakani Motas laid down a perfect bunt on the first base side of the mound for a single, scoring Donahue to tie the game. Tuasivi struck out Pomai Kim, but Gainey, a pitcher, showed the value of his offseason with as a hitter.
“He worked on his hitting since last fall,” Donahue said.