WAILUKU — Here we go. A beautiful, sunny, blue-sky morning in Wailuku. So much for yesterday’s gray skies and 25 mph wind. Lefty Joey Cantillo is starting on the mound for Kailua, the OIA champion, against the OIA’s fifth-place team, Campbell. The Sabers stunned Punahou last night in the opening round of the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA Division I Baseball State Championships.
Day 2 began earlier with a win by Punahou over Hilo in consolation play. Note: a crew was here late last night with something that looked like a mini backhoe or excavator working on the surface near first base where the base runners take a lead. They worked the entire field expertly for a long time, long after the rest of us left.
Cantillo retires the top three Sabers in order and uses just six pitches. They’re trying to tag him early in the count, didn’t work.
Campbell junior Markus Ramos sets Kailua down in order, as well. He’s 6-foot-3. Cantillo, also a junior, is listed at 6-5.
Cantillo picking up steam, striking out Justin Fernandez on high heat and Bronson Burr on a low curveball to end the inning.
Lawson Faria grounds a single up the middle to lead off Kailua’s half of the frame. Cantillo lines a single to right. Keiki Kanahele-Santos fakes the bunt, slaps a grounder over Campbell 3B Fernandez, but the SS, Jordan Macias, is right behind Fernandez at the bag. He snags the ball, steps on third base and fires to first for a 6-3 DP. Amazing execution by the Sabers. Daniel Thomas then flies out to left in foul territory. Damage averted by Ramos.
Cantillo may be getting a little too cute with his pitches. He blows a fastball, letter-high, past Tood Takahama and he swings and misses. But Cantillo misses with breaking balls, and ball four is a high breaking ball. His heater against the lower third of this or almost any lineup is a plus situation, from what I’ve seen.
He falls behind Ramos, 2-0. Battles back and gets Ramos swinging at maybe a change-up, just a little bit off-speed down the middle. Then he goes to a full count against the No. 9 hitter, Kainoa Ganancial, who fouls off two pitches, then walks. Two runners on, both from the bottom third of the lineup.
Shane Shimizu is down 1-2, grounds into a 5-4 fielder’s choice. Two outs now, runners at the corners.
First pitch to Ikaika Ganancial, he lines the ball off the glove of Kailua 3B Noah Ah Yat, who almost makes a great diving catch. The ball bounces toward left field and is retrieved by SS Dustin Imanaka. Takahama scores on the play. CAM 1, KAIL 0.
Macias grounds back to Cantillo, inning over. Cantillo threw six pitches in the first inning, 16 in the second and 28 in this third frame.
Kailua’s Joseph Byers grounds to second to lead off. Then Ramos hits Kalei Kealoha-Machado in the back on a first pitch. 1-1 count to Imanaka, wild pitch, ball hits the dirt near home plate and Kealoha-Machado advances to second. Conference at the mound with pitching coach David Perreira and the infield and catcher.
Now Imanaka walks and Ramos appears to have lost all command. Campbell still leads 1-0. DH Dalton Kalama lines a single to right on a 2-0 pitch, Kealoha-Machado is wisely held up at third. Bases loaded for Auld.
1-1 pitch to Auld is a curve in the dirt and almost gets away. Great recovery by C Burr. His wild pitch earlier was on a curve in the dirt. Ramos gambles with a curve that breaks out of the strike zone and it pays off. Auld swings and misses for strike three. Two down. Huge out for Ramos.
1-2 on Lawson Faria, who takes a fastball for strike three. That was borderline outside by 2-4 inches but that’s too good to take with two strikes. Ramos battles back to escape unscathed. He threw 21 pitches in the inning and has thrown 46 so far.
Cantillo coming after the hitters again as he did in the first inning. Clemons flies out to right on a 1-2 count. Then Fernandez singles to center on a 1-1 pitch. He challenges Burr with high heat and it’s a swing and miss on strike three. Two down.
Cantillo has Takahama down 2-2, but throws two high balls, walk. Then he walks Ramos on four pitches. He may have balked at least once, I’m told, but there was no call. Not coming to a discernable stop. 1-1 pitch to Kainoa Ganancial is high and he gets it pretty good, but it’s a deep fly to left for the third out.
Surfriders going after Ramos early. Cantillo first-pitch swinging, single to center. Then Kanahehe-Santos swings at the first pitch, tough grounder in the hole at short. Macias retrieves the ball, looks at second, throw to first is late. Daniel Thomas is up, runners at second and first. He flies out to center on the first pitch.
First pitch by Ramos to Joseph Byers is in the dirt again and squirts away from Burr. Courtesy runner Dakota Kadooka races from second to third and beats the throw, safe. Kanahele-Santos advances to second. 3-2 pitch is a nice one just a couple of inches off the inside part of the plate. Byers walks. That’s very similar to the strike-three pitch an inning ago. Catcher was set up outside on this one. Bases loaded.
Ramos strikes out Kealoha-Machado on three pitches. Two outs. Imanaka battles to a full count, fouls off three pitches. Then a called third strike, fastball inside and off the plate by 3-4 inches. Tough ball to take, and this umpire has already called a pitch like that for a strike earlier. Another bases-loaded, empty inning for Kailua. Should they have sac-bunted with two runners on, no outs? They’ve left seven runners on base, six in the last two innings.
Twenty pitches in the inning by Ramos, 66 total.
One out, Ikaika Ganancial walks. 2-1 on Macias and the hit-and-run is on. Macias sends a soft grounder to second, perfectly placed for a single as Ganancial sprints around second and on to third easily.
2-2 pitch to Clemons is a ball with Macias stealing second base uncontested. 3-2 pitch to Clemons is a high chopper, fielded by SS Imanaka for a 6-3 putout. Ganancial can’t advance. Two outs.
Cantillo walks Fernandez on five pitches. Bases loaded. Burr steps in. He has struck out twice. Full count, a couple of foul balls, and then Burr pops up as 1B Auld hustles toward the Kailua dugout for the third out. Cantillo threw 33 pitches in that inning and has 107 for the game.
Faria swings at a ball that bounces in the dirt and reaches first base on a wild pitch. Interesting that there is no error, technically, though the catcher had time to make the throw to first and threw high, pulling the first baseman off the bag. Cantillo follows with a fly out to right for the third out.
That’s it for Cantillo, who pitched 5 innings, struck out four and walked six. He surrendered one run. Senior Matthew Hanano is on the mound now. Sidearmer.
He walks Takahama and pinch hitter Kekahi Reiny Aloy. Then he throws a wild pitch while Kainoa Ganancial squares up to bunt. Runners advance.
That’s all for Hanano, who walked two and had a 1-0 count on Kainoa Ganancial. Kalama moves from DH to the mound. Kainoa Ganancial’s sacrifice fly to left, the throw from LF Kanahele-Santos hits the base runner, pinch runner Darien Robinson. That’s an error on the throw as Reiny Aloy advances to third base. CAM 2, KAIL 0.
Kalama gets Shimizu to ground out to him, two outs. 2-1 count on Ikaika Ganancial, who pokes a single to center, scoring Reiny Aloy from third. CAM 3, KAIL 0.
Macias follows with a single to left on a 1-2 pitch. Sabers can do no wrong at this point. Clemons with a long at-bat before whiffing on a Kalama fastball.
Ramos is closing in on the 100-pitch count. No special meaning attached to that. The only number that pitchers and pitching coaches care about at this tourney is the 39-out maximum. Kanahele-Santos strikes out and Thomas flies to right. Byers pops out to first.
Fernandez leads off with a single to left, sac bunted to second by Burr, and goes to third on a passed ball. Takahama singles to left, Fernandez scores. CAM 4, KAIL 0.
Ramos has a full count, belts it to the 370-foot sign in left center for a double. Takahama scores from first. CAM 5, KAIL 0.
Kalama gets Kainoa Ganancial on a foul pop and Shimizu on a strikeout to end the inning.
Ramos is back on the mound, going for a complete-game win. Kealoha-Machado grounds up the middle, but SS Macias is there again and makes another tough play look easy. One of the smoothest fielding shortstops I’ve ever seen. Imanaka grounds to first, excellent cover by Ramos on the move for a 3-1 putout. Kalama grounds to second, game over.
Campbell pulls off another upset, knocking out OIA champion Kailua. Ramos goes the distance with six strikeouts, two walks, two wild pitches and one hit batter. Outstanding work and he got better after struggling a bit early. He retired the last seven batters he faced. He threw 108 pitches.