Sunny, blue skies here at Les Murakami Stadium for this showdown of Kamehameha and Mid-Pacific, two teams tied for the lead in the ILH baseball standings at 5-1. The scent of burnt foliage and the sound of whirring helicopter propellers is upon us. Firefighters are still working on the brush fire that has again scorched part of nearby Waahila Ridge.
KS has Ladd Ah Choy on the mound. MPI has Grant Doi. Both are right-handed seniors.
The Owls are the home team and go down in order.
The Warriors get a leadoff double down the right field line by Kahoea Akau, but he goes for a triple, overslides third base and is tagged out. Matthew Yokota follows with a walk and Kekai Rios, like Akau, sends a perfectly placed opposite-field line drive just inside the right-field line. Rios’ double scores Yokota for the game’s first run. KS 1, MPI 0.
The Owls are retired in order again.
The Warriors get a leadoff single to center by Kody Cacal, but he gets picked off first and is tagged out in a rundown.
The Owls get their first hit, a two-out single by Jacob Maekawa, but that’s it.
The Warriors get a leadoff single by Micah McNicoll, and after a sac bunt, Yokota walks. However, Doi retires the next two batters to end the threat. Ah Choy retired the first eight Owls before permitting a base runner.
MPI gets a two-out single by Chase Wago, but on Sean Kinel’s bloop single to left center, Wago is thrown out at third attempting to advance. His slide came up short of the bag and made it easier for the third baseman, Codie Paiva, to make the tag. Is the dirt at the bags here less loose than it is at other fields?
The Warriors get a one-out double to right by Cacal, but Doi gets the last two batters to escape again.
Doi in a groove, goes 1-2-3 through the bottom of the Warriors’ lineup.
Ah Choy goes 1-2-3 through the Owls, as well.
The Owls seize the lead. Jacob Maekawa reaches base on an infield single, a hard grounder deep in the hole at short. Maekawa is nearly picked off first by Kamehameha catcher Rios. Then Ah Choy hits the next batter, Alex Oley. Noah Shackles lays down a sac bunt and first baseman Henderson decides to go after the lead runner. His throw to third base is a fraction of a second too late, Maekawa is safe and the bases are loaded with no outs. 3B Paiva is injured on the play and leaves.
Ah Choy’s beautiful performance is coming apart. He’s done for the day, replaced by Paiva, who moves over from third base. The Owls cash in with two runs without another base hit. Tyler Yamaguchi goes after Paiva’s first pitch and sends a fielder’s choice grounder to short, forcing out Shackles at second, but Maekawa scores easily to tie the game at 1.
Then Wago grounds the ball near the bag at second for what appears to be an easy 6-4-3 double play, but Wago, a left-handed batter, beats out the throw to first. Oley scores the go-ahead run for MPI. Everything has changed. MPI 2, KS 1.
The Warriors get a runner on base when Paiva singles to center, but that’s the extent of it. Doi is sailing along.
Paiva retires the bottom of the MPI lineup in order.
Kamehameha gets a one-out single by Lawson Faria. With two outs, Akau’s hard grounder down the left-field line is ruled a foul ball, disputed politely by KS coach Tommy Perkins. That would’ve put runners at third and second. Doi strikes out Akau to end the game.
FINAL: MPI 2, KS 1.
Game was over in 1 hour, 40 minutes.