WAILUKU — The OIA’s sixth-place team, Mililani, faces No. 1-seeded Mid-Pacific in today’s third game of the quarterfinal round at the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA State Baseball Championships on Maui.
Sunny sky all day at Iron Maehara Stadium, though the forecast is calling for clouds and possible rain tonight. Game time is set for 4:15 p.m.
Ryan Kono leads off for the Trojans. Swings at the first offering from MPI pitcher Alex Oley. Owls have a well-earned reputation for throwing efficiently and Mililani seems ready to attack. Kono swings and misses on a tailing fastball away for the first out.
Nice crowd here for the Owls, sitting behind home plate. Next batter is C.J. Ibara, who takes a first strike and ends up striking out. Kaimana Souza-Paaluhi flies out to end the inning.
Jacob Maekawa walks to lead off MPI’s inning. Alex Oley sac bunts him to second and Maekawa goes to third base on Chase Wago’s grounder to second. Ryne Yamashiro lines a shot that Mililani SS Blaine DeMello dives for. He makes the catch to end the inning.
Three up, three down for the Trojans. Aris Nakagawa flies out, Hunter Kirihara taps a soft liner to short and Preston Morales strikes out. That’s three K’s for Oley.
Bottom 2nd: Cameron Wong beats out a ground ball to the back of second base. Great effort by middle infielders DeMello and Kono. Layugan attempts a bunt, pops it up in foul territory. C Hunter Kirihara catches it, throws to first for a double play. Wong was running on the pitch; someone read the signal wrong. Trevin Tengan grounds to first, inning over.
The HHSAA guys here are keeping tabs on everything across the state. As of this afternoon, Radford and Kapolei have won their D-II baseball openers, which means teams from the OIA West* are 8-0 in the state tournaments (D-I and D-II) so far.
Realistically, Radford and Kapolei played in Division II, not the D-I OIA West, but geographically, they’ve always been in the OIA West. Point is, the West is doing well. Very well.
Mililani gets an infield single by Sheldon Lee with one out. DeMello is called out for batter’s interference on C Layugan’s throw to second base on a stolen-base attempt by Lee. Kono strikes out to end the frame for the Trojans.
Owls go three up, three down. Zach Gushiken grounds to third, Hunter Hill grounds to second and Maekawa grounds to third. The Maekawa grounder was a tough one. 3B Ibara dove to knock it own and made a pinpoint throw to first.
Souza-Paaluhi singles with one out and Kirihara singles with two outs. Souza-Paaluhi was running on the pitch, but stopped at second base when a MPI infielder faked him out. Morales pops out to Oley for the third out.
Bottom half: Ryne Yamashiro walks with two outs, then Wong sends a sinking liner to short right field, where RF Ke‘olu Ramos makes a superb diving catch.
The world as we knew it no longer exists. It’s an OIA West world, a wild West world. Mililani has scored four times in this top of the fifth to take command.
After Ramos struck out, Sheldon Lee and DeMello singled. Kono’s single loaded the bases. With Ibara at the plate with a 2-2 count, Oley let a wild pitch loose, allowing Lee to score from third base. MIL 1, MPI 0.
Ibara walked to re-load the bases. Then Souza-Paaluhi grounded to first, and DeMello scored from third. MIL 2, MPI 0.
Aris Nakagawa then came up with a blast to deep left, doubling off the fence. Kono and Ibara score. MIL 4, MPI 0.
Kirihara walks and that’s the end of the day for Oley. Chase Wago warming up.
Wago strikes out Morales to end the inning. Oley went 4 2/3 innings, struck out five and walked two, allowing four runs on seven hits. The senior threw 74 pitches.
Ancheta is rolling along. He gets Layugan and Tengan to ground out. He walks Zach Gushiken. Then Gushiken is nearly thrown out after Hunter Hill misses on a bunt attempt. Hill then grounds to short, where SS DeMello fields and steps on second base for the forceout.
Ancheta has a 1-hitter going. He has not struck out a batter. He’s walked three. He has thrown just 58 pitches and is throwing a mix of pitches for strikes. He’s a 5-foot-4 junior who is on the verge of leading the OIA’s sixth-place team over the No. 1 seed.
Wago is facing the lower third of the lineup and gets Mililani to go three up, three down.
Ancheta walks the leadoff man, Maekawa, on four pitches. Conference at the mound as Mililani coach Mark Hirayama makes a visit. Oley goes for the first pitch and flies out to center. Wago grounds into a forceout. Yamashiro grounds into a forceout. Inning over.
I’ve seen some remarkable, insane comeback wins by MPI over the years. The Owls are down to their last three outs, trailing by four runs. What could possibly happen?
One out, Ibara hits a tough grounder to second. 2B Gushiken has to let it go early, tries to bounce it and it goes by the base. Scorer rules E4. Souza-Paaluhi flies out to right. Nakagawa sends a blooper to right, where RF Hill charges and makes a nice, sliding catch for the third out.
MPI coming up to bat.
Lefty Koa Eastlack has taken the mound, so that’s it for Ancheta, who pitched 6 innings, gave up no runs on one hit, struck out none, walked four. He threw an economical 68 pitches.
Eastlack retires Wong on a grounder, but Layugan’s grounder turns into a throwing error by 3B Ibara. Tengan grounds out to second, two outs. Owls down to their last out. Gushiken at the plate. 3-1 count, he flies out to center. Game over.
Mililani shocks No. 1 Mid-Pacific and advances to the semifinals. The Trojans will face Pearl City in Friday’s 4:15 p.m. matchup.