Game just underway on a hot, sunny, slightly breezy afternoon (3:43 p.m.) at Mid-Pacific’s Damon Field. Punahou enters with a 3-1 mark in ILH play. Fourth-ranked MPI is 3-2. Third-ranked Punahou won their first meeting on Mar. 2.
The visiting Buffanblu got a single by Noah Goss, but never got into scoring position against Owls starting pitcher Ethan Fukikami.
Jacob Maekawa leads off for MPI with a single to left and advances to second on a sacrfice bunt by Alex Oley. Chase Wago’s slicing fly ball near the left-field line is stabbed for a great catch by Punahou’s Cole Cabrera.
Then comes the damage. Ryne Yamashiro is hit by pitch and Trevin Tengan walks on a full count. Cameron Wong slams a double off the left-field fence, scoring Maekawa and Yamashiro, MPI 2-0.
Kyle Layugan is at bat, 1-0 count, when Goss’ breaking ball breaks bad for a wild pitch. Tengan scores standing up and it’s 3-0 MPI.
Layugan then wallops a blast to center, a double that scores Wong from second. MPI ends the first frame up 4-0.
First pitch from Fukikami to Easton Takamoto is rocketed over the center-field fence for a solo home run. Fujikami retires the next three Buffanblu. Punahou swang at every first pitch. MPI 4, PUN 1.
Owls get another single by Maekawa. Oley grounds into a fielder’s choice and steals second. Wago grounds up the middle, tough play for the shortstop, Andrew Matsueda, who throws the ball away. That would’ve been the third out. Oley scores and MPI leads 5-1.
Goss doubles to the left-center gap with two outs and Kitagawa is hit by pitch, but Fujikami retires Nomura on a fly ball to end the threat.
The Owls get singles by Wong and Layugan, but Gushiken grounds into a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.
It’s deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra once quipped. The Buffanblu lost two runs back on Mar. 2 in a game here at MPI when one of the baserunners failed to step on home plate.
This time, in the top of the fourth, it’s Logan Williams who singles with two outs, and then misses third base as he comes home on a double to left by Brent Shimoda. MPI appeals and gets the out to end the inning. Instead of 5-2 with a runner on second, it’s still 5-1.
MPI gets a leadoff double down the left-field line by Hunter Hill, but he’s doubled off when Matsueda, the shortstop, snares a line drive by Maekawa. DP 6-4. Oley grounds out and the Owls come up empty.
Matsueda doubles down the left-field line. Home umpire issues a stern warning to Punahou’s dugout as they scream and yell. Cabrera blasts a shot to deep left, ball caroms off the fence toward center field and Cabrera slides in with a triple. Matsueda scores easily, MPI 5-2.
Goss follows with a sac fly to left, Cabrera scores from third, MPI 5-3. Kitagawa reaches on an infield single, but MPI third baseman Trevin Tengan backhands a hard one-hopper and turns it into a 5-4-3 DP. That guy has been a vacuum since last year.
MPI gets a two-out walk from Tengan, but Goss fans Wong to end the inning.
Maekawa takes the mound for the Owls. Fujikami was efficient giving up three runs on eight hits in 5 innings. He did not strike out or walk a batter, and he tossed just 44 pitches.
Maekawa is maybe a three-quarter side-armer. Easton Takamoto leads off with a double to the left-field corner and moves over to third on a groundout by Kai Terada-Herzer. Williams then lines a single up the middle to bring Takamoto home. MPI 5-4.
Brent Shimokda, the designated hitter, goes to a full count and swings at a low, inside breaking ball that would’ve been ball four. Two outs.
Matsueda is up. He’s down 1-2, fouls off a pitch, and then lines a single up to middle. Williams moves up to second base. Maekawa walks Cabrera on four pitches. Bases are loaded for Goss.
First pitch from Maekawa to Goss is lined the opposite way, a single near the left-field line. Williams scores, Matsueda scores, and Punahou takes the lead. PUN 6-5.
Cabrera now at second and Goss at first. Muramaru is out to chat with Maekawa, leaves him in. Maekawa gets Kitagawa on a groundout to third, another nice scoop on a tricky hop by Tengan.
Bottom of the sixth, Riley Guieb is on the mound and Goss is done after 5 innings and five runs allowed (four earned). Goss threw 89 pitches. Technically, Guieb is the pitcher of record. He fans Layugan for the first out. Zachary Gushiken grounds to short, two outs. Guieb fans Hill on a heater right down the middle.
Maekawa retires the side in the top of the seventh. MPI down one run entering the bottom of the frame. Is it Muramaru magic time?
Maekawa, the pitcher of record, is the leadoff man. 1-0 count, he flies out to deep left. Cabrera with a long run to get to the corner.
Oley swats a single up the middle. He’s the potential tying run. Wago at the plate. On Wago’s 0-1 swing and miss, Oley takes off on a delayed steal and sneaks past the tag at second to get into scoring position. Gutsy.
Wago fouls off an 0-2 pitch, then whiffs on a Guieb fastball. Wago rarely looks like this. Guieb’s stuff is on today. Two outs and Yamashiro is up.
Oley takes off on a 1-1 pitch and steals third as the pitch glances off Kitagawa’s glove. But the next pitch is a curve for a strike. THEN CRAZINESS. Oley takes off from third for home plate. The pitch is a ball, Oley slides and appears to get his hand over home plate first, but the home plate umpire rules that the catcher, Kitagawa, got the tag there first. GAME OVER.
That’s taking guts to the extreme, but it almost worked. Guieb gets the win. Maekawa takes the loss. Punahou improves to 4-1 and MPI drops to 3-3. What a game.