The patience of Scott Yamada is almost supernatural.
Never too high. Never too low. A man who has unique skills as a coach, a teacher of young men, and even a green thumb on of the most beautifully manicured diamonds in all the Hawaiian islands.
Nothing, though, brings relief the way his team’s bats did on a hot, then cold afternoon at Kaiser on Saturday. Na Menehune spanked 13 base hits, drawing six walks from Kaiser pitchers for good measure, in a key 11-6 win over the talented Cougars. The win evened Moanalua’s OIA East record at 2-2, which is good news in a wide-open race.
“We followed the game plan. We’ve been doing some things at practice to get our bats on the ball,” Yamada said as a biting wind pieced through Kaiser’s field by game’s end. “We threw strikes. Austyn (Kometani) did a good job. Kaiser is a well-coached, scrappy team.”
Cody Isa and Mathis Yamamoto led the charge at the plate. Isa belted a solo home run to spark a three-run spurt in the top of the first inning. He finished 3-for-4, scoring two runs and also walked. Yamamoto went 3-for-5 with a triple, two RBIs and two runs scored.
It was a hot, then cold (72 degrees by game’s end along with a cutting wind chill) afternoon that featured three runs in the first, three in the third, three in the fifth and two in the seventh by the visiting Menehune.
“We just got out-hit,” Kaiser coach Kila Kaaihue said. “They executed their game plan perfectly.”
Kometani went 3 1/3 innings in relief of Cade Fernandez, permitting two runs on three hits. He struck out two and walked one for the win. Fernandez was a battler as the starter, allowing four runs on three hits in three innings. He whiffed three and walked three. Center fielder Christian Capinia pitched the final two outs.
Kaiser’s pitchers — Tyler Dyball, southpaw Jarrett Nam and freshman Branden Chun-Ming — showed flashes of potential despite the wind-aided rips by the visitors. Dyball’s fastball was active and he showed a nice off-speed pitch with control. Wind that blows out, however, is rarely kind to flame-throwing pitchers. Nam walked in three runs in after replacing Dyball with the bases loaded, but his left-handed fastball has movement inside and outside, and he missed his pitches by mere inches.
Chun-Ming may have been the surprise of the afternoon. He came at Moanalua’s hitters with no fear, allowing just one hit in the sixth by the bottom half of the lineup. The veterans of Moanalua’s upper half got to him for two runs in the seventh, but he emerged out of it with some valuable game experience.