The logjam at the top of the ILH standings () is still ever-shifting after Saturday’s games, thanks to No. 10 Kamehameha’s 7-6 win over No. 6 Punahou in eight innings.
With less than a month remaining before the regular season comes to a close, the Warriors seem as well-prepared as anyone for the uncertainty that the league brings.
It started in late January, when head coach Thomas Perkins and his staff were let go two days before tryouts and Kahi Kaanoi took over on an interim basis on Feb. 7. Despite the turnover, they’ve played in some eventful games and are 5-1-1 so far.
On March 3, they beat Maryknoll 5-4 in eight innings at Ala Wai Field. Ten days later, they played ‘Iolani to a 10-10 tie on the same field. Saturday’s win against Punahou, also at Ala Wai, displayed the sheer resilience of the Warriors.
Down to their last three outs twice, the Warriors scored three runs each in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings to rally past the Buffanblu after Kalamaku Kuewa beat out a double play with the bases loaded and one out.
“Like they’ve been doing all year, they’ve been battling. We’ve been down in situations like that and they’ve come through before,” Kaanoi said, “Just proud of them to not give up and stick with their approach and just push. It doesn’t happen all the time but you play the percentages, you stick to your approach and good things can happen.”
The Warriors were lifted on the mound by lefty Javyn Pimental, who lasted 5 1/3 innings and gave up just one run, striking out eight and walking four to go along with four hits after 93 pitches.
“He was getting up there in his pitch count and he walked a guy near the end. Javyn battled all game long. I just felt it was time. We have a good bullpen, so no sense in waiting around,” Kaanoi said.
In total, the Warriors used five pitchers. Christian DeJesus got the win after recording the last three outs for the Warriors.
Punahou’s Kahi Bisho, working exclusively from the stretch, didn’t give up a hit until the fourth inning. He was done after five innings and 80 pitches, allowing just one hit while walking four and striking out seven. With scouts and opposing coaches in attendance, the Kansas signee flashed a fastball in the lower 90’s to go along with a sharp curveball that he consistently threw for strikes.
Bisho held Kamehameha scoreless, but the Warriors went on to score all seven of their runs off of three different Punahou relievers. Mark Liberato had a team-high two hits and two RBIs for the Warriors, including a clutch single in the bottom of the eighth that tied things up before Kuewa’s walk-off.
“I tip my hat to Punahou for giving us a battle today,” Kuewa said. “It’s always a rivalry between us and each game we got, we just gotta battle. It was just an unbelievable game of baseball.”
“It’s just another game in the standings,” Kaanoi said. “We’re taking it one game at a time. We got better today, we’ll try to get better on Monday, and keep pushing on Tuesday. That’s the way we’re gonna look at it. Let’s not get too high right now. Enjoy the win of course, but come back Monday working hard.”