It took Kamehameha an inning to overcome what Warriors starting pitcher Codie Paiva called “first-game jitters,” but the blue-and-white clad squad used a seven-hit, seven-run outburst in the fifth inning to best ‘Iolani, 9-4, Saturday morning at Hans L’Orange Park.
Paiva, a six-foot, five-inch hurler, notched the victory after striking out six in as many innings. The senior also served as a catalyst at the dish, collecting two crucial doubles that allowed Kamehameha to erase a 2-0 first-inning deficit before it eventually exploded for seven runs thanks in part to three fifth-inning errors by ‘Iolani.
“Codie is a great player for this team, he has the ability to calm these guys down and get them going when we need to,” said Kamehameha coach Tom Perkins, who earned his first Interscholastic League of Honolulu win after taking over the varsity squad following nearly 20 years of success at the intermediate level.
The Warriors (1-0) eventually surpassed the Raiders with seven runs in the fifth frame, an effort aided in part by three ‘Iolani miscues. Kamehameha catcher Kekai Rios, a University of Hawaii commit, broke a 2-2 tie with two outs on a clutch line-drive single to left field with the bases loaded that plated two runs.
Ensuing batter Chance Arakaki then singled to third baseman Kaimana Bartolome to bring home Kody Cacal, and Rios and Paiva’s courtesy runner Josh Souza—who scored three runs on the day after taking the place of the pitcher on the base paths—also came home on an errant throw by Bartolome. Brandon Henderson, Matthew Yokota and Makoa Mau then pieced together consecutive singles, the latter two of which netted a run apiece, and staked the Warriors to an insurmountable advantage.
“We never panicked, just trusted in each other and came back in the end,” said Paiva. “(This win) shows us that we can come back from any deficit and that we can produce runs in many ways.”
After taking 27 pitches to get through the first inning, Paiva settled down, mixed in his fastball, change up and slider effectively and retired 10 consecutive batters to keep his squad in the game.
“We’re finally coming to a point where we’re putting it all together,” Perkins said. “We’re still not where we want to be, but we hope to be there at the right time.”
It was a rough 20-or-so hours for ‘Iolani, which fell to defending state champion Saint Louis on Friday afternoon before turning around to play a rested Kamehameha squad at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Raiders coach Brent Shimokawa was quick to dismiss the notion that the short rest played a role in the loss.
“We just had one bad inning and it hurt us,” the ‘Iolani coach said. “We had an opportunity to cash in and we should have kept the pressure on. We need to get better, the coaches and the players.”
The Raiders (0-2) took an early two-run advantage thanks to two Kamehameha errors in the first inning. Starting pitcher Austin Jim On, who was eventually saddled with the loss after tossing four-plus effective innings, led off the game with a double to center and moved to third when the ball was bobbled. Jim On scored on Matt Campos’ sacrifice fly and the Raiders added an unearned run when Kamehameha left fielder Nicholas Penzetta misplayed a fly ball off the bat of catcher Josh Inaba, which allowed Pikai Winchester to score from first.
>>>The small yet vocal crowd on hand let out a collective gasp in the home half of the sixth when Rios, after flying out to center field to end the inning, came up limping and could not complete the trek to first base. After hobbling back to the dugout, the backstop returned to the field on defense, but departed after stopping a ball in the dirt from reliever Ladd Ah Choy.
While the injury initially appeared serious, Perkins explained that Rios had suffered “cramping” in the lower portion of his right leg—“more bananas for him before the next game,” the coach quipped.
>>>Winchester filled the designated hitter role for the second consecutive game and posted a single, while also striking out to end the game. The infielder is refocused on baseball after wrapping up the basketball season in ‘Iolani’s state championship game loss to Kalaheo last weekend. He is also slated to join the Rainbow Warriors next season.
>>>Multiple pro scouts, Hawaii Pacific coach Garett Yukumoto as well as Saint Louis and Mid-Pacific coaches George Gusman and Dunn Muramaru were all on hand to evaluate talent and scout various players Saturday morning.