It’s Mid-Pacific ace Chase Wago against Punahou ace Noah Goss in a battle of southpaws in an ILH regular-season opener at the Owls’ Damon Field.
No score after two innings, though Punahou has advanced runners into scoring position in each of the first two.
Top of the third — a three-run home run by Easton Takamoto over the centerfield fence 333 feet away has been determined by the home plate umpire to be just one run on the play. I haven’t pried in close enough for details, but it has something to do with home plate, and I’m guessing that the second runner to come home did not step on the plate. I could be wrong, of course. More soon. In any event, Punahou leads top-ranked Mid-Pacific 1-0.
Goss sets the Owls down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the third.
Checking with other media here (Kalani Takase) and he’s guessing the same thing. Now the question is, is Takamoto’s hit ruled a single now? Double? It certainly can’t be a HR anymore. So, on Takamoto’s hit to deep center (I didn’t see it clear the fence, but apparently it did), Goss crossed home plate cleanly. Codey Kitagawa did not. And so his run and Takamoto’s run are nullified.
I’ve never seen this happen in a prep game. Ever. And I started covering games in 1990, so that’s… a lot of years.
Goss in a groove. He sets the Owls down in order again, retiring Alex Oley (fly out), Wago (fly out) and Trevin Tengan (strikeout) in the bottom of the frame. PUN 1, MPI 0.
Great advice from a Punahou coach to the dugout in between innings just now: “Next time you guys come home, step on the plate.”
He had just the right tone. Not sarcastic.
Wago retires the Buffanblu in order during the top of the fifth. Allan Dong (foul pop), Kitagawa (fly out) and Jerick Nomura (groundout to second).
Goss retires MPI in order again. That’s 10 Owls in a row. Hunter Hill flies out to right in foul ground. Pinch-hitter Cameron Wong flies out to deep center and Wyatt Young grounds out to second.
Game just flying by. And as I think this, now we probably have an hour-long sixth inning.
Daniel Nishihara replaces Wago on the mound. Wago (81 pitches) went five innings, struck out three and walked two. He gave up the one run on seven hits. Nishihara doesn’t waste time or pitches. He’s going right after the Owls, gives up a leadoff single, then throws out the runner on a sacrifice bunt attempt. Nice work so far. He fields a chopper from Austin Horio and throws a bit low to first, but that’s the third out.
Bottom sixth and after a swing and foul ball by pinch hitter Breyndon Nakamura, Owls coach Dunn Muramaru jogs in to ask the home plate umpire something. I’m guessing he’s asking if there was catcher’s interference and he has a point. It was very close.
But Goss does it again, sets the Owls down in order and that’s 13 MPI batters in a row. Come to Damon Field and do this to the Owls on Day 1 of the ILH season? Impressive. But there’s one more inning to go and I’ve seen way too many crazy, improbable finishes on this diamond.
Pitch count for Goss after six frames: 55.
Buffanblu get an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Cabrera reaches on a chopper/infield single to third, reaches second on an infield error (ground ball) and goes to third on a wild pitch by Nishihara. Nishihara’s second wild pitch allows Cabrera to score Punahou’s second run, advancing Dong to third. Kitagawa walks and Punahou has runners at the corners as Nishihara departs. He went 1 1/3 innings.
Nomura facing Carter Rustad, a tall right-hander. Rustad snares a line drive by Nomura and tosses to first for the inning-ending double player. Owls needed that badly. Punahou up 2-0 going into the bottom of the seventh.
Goss going for the complete-game win. A shutout would be a luxury at this point. He is working on a 2-hitter with just one walk issued.
I’m no prophet. Crazy comebacks at Damon Field just happen. OLEY JUST HOMERED ON THE FIRST PITCH OF THE BOTTOM SEVENTH. A shot over the left-field fence. Now Goss plunks Wago. It’s 2-1, MPI has the tying run at first and go-ahead run at home plate.
Pinch-hitter Brandon Hakkei enters, replacing Hunter Hill. And there it is. 1-2 pitch, Hakkei slams a hard grounder up the middle, just right of Goss. Horio, the second baseman, makes a dive attempt to stop it and the ball bounds off him into center field. That allows Wago to score the tying run. It’s 2-2 with one out in the bottom of the seventh. The Owls done it again.
That’s it for Goss, who went 6 1/3 innings. What a game he pitched. The relief pitcher, right-hander Riley Guieb, gets the last two outs of the inning. Hakkei is thrown out at second on a rifle throw by the catcher, Kitagawa. Then Guieb gets Jared Fujihara swinging for strike three.
Extras! Goss finished with 62 pitches thrown.
Rustad issues a one-out walk to Logan Williams on four pitches, and after a ball to Kai Terada-Herzer, Muramaru pulls the pitcher. Is there anybody better than having a feel for his hurlers? Ethan Fujikami enters and gets Terada-Herzer to line into an inning-ending double play.
MPI with a chance to win it in the bottom of the eigth.
Fujikami at the plate with one out. Down in the count, 1-2, battles back to draw a walk.
MPI had a prime opportunity here, runners at third and second after a balk by Guieb, but Oley grounds to second to end the threat. Tied at 2 after eight frames.
Horio reaches on an infield error but is stranded at third base to end the top of the ninth for Punahou.
Kahi Bisho enters for Punahou and he’s their third pitcher of record. Wago leads off the bottom of the ninth with a walk after going to a full count. Tengan chops a single over the drawn-in infield, and Hill sac-bunts the runners to third and second. Jared Fujihara walked intentionall to load the bases with one out.
First pitch to Wyatt Young appears to hit him on the arm, but it’s ruled a foul ball. Count is 1-1, Punahou conference on the mound. What a game…
Bisho battles back from a 3-0 count, to 3-2, but his last pitch is low. Young walks, RBI, Wago forced in from third base and another comeback win by the Cardiac Owls.