Kailua has won 12 OIA baseball championships, including six under current coach Corey Ishigo. Kalani hasn’t won one since 1971. The two teams are going at it tonight in the OIA Division I final at Hans L’Orange Park.
Dustin Imanaka and Dalton Kalama started it off for the Surfriders with walks off Kalani starting pitcher Micah Kawano. Noah Auld then doubled to right center, bringing home both base runners. KAIL 2, KLN 0.
Lawson Faria’s blooper to short center falls for a single and Auld holds at third base. Joey Cantillo grounds into a 6-4-3 double play as Auld crosses home plate. KAIL 3, KLN 0.
Keiki Kanahele-Santos flies to center for the third out.
Kalani gets two runners on base but is scoreless in the first against Dustin Imanaka. Reece Kakugawa and Connor Zalewski single, runners at the corners, but Bronson Matsumoto grounds out to short for the third out.
Daniel Thomas leads off for Kailua with an infield single, but Noah Ah Yat grounds into a 6-3 double play to.
The Falcons get help from Kailua, which commits two errors in the bottom of the inning. Kohl Suehiro reaches on an infield single, advances to second when Noah Nakamura’s grounder turns into an infield single. After Kyle Sasano grounds into a fielder’s choice, Hunter Lau is at the plate when Imanaka uncorks a wild throw on a pickoff attempt at first. That allows Suehiro to score from third and Sasano advances to third. KAIL 3, KLN 1.
Lau is hit by pitch, and then Jarryn Wee doubles down the right-field line, scoring Sasano from third. But Imanaka strikes out with runners at third and second to end the threat. KAIL 3, KLN 2.
Auld comes up big again. Imanaka leads off with an infield single, steals second base and goes to third on a wild pitch. Auld is ahead 3-0 in the count when he belts a rocket to left-center. Imanaka jogs home. Auld is now 2-for-2 with two doubles and three RBIs. KAIL 4, KLN 2.
Faria down 1-2, swings at a pitch in the dirt for the third strike, but C Matsumoto can’t snag the bouncing ball. Faria beats the throw to first and Auld advances to third on what is still, technically, a wild pitch. Runners at the corners, one out, for Cantillo.
2-2 pitch to Cantillo, a high bouncer to first, where Nakamura rushes (probably ready to throw home) and botches the grab. The ball caroms off his glove toward the outfield; Auld and Faria race home to score. KAIL 6, KLN 2.
That’s all for Kawano, who went 2 1/3 innings. Enter Harrison Moy. Keiki Kanahele-Santos sends a towering pop fly to short, where Wee struggles and can’t make the catch, but he throws to second for the force out on Cantillo. Then Thomas sends a blooper to short right, off the glove of Awaya. Kanahele-Santos advances to third base and Thomas stops at first. Courtesy runner Dakota Kadooka switches with Thomas and steals second standing up on the first pitch to Ah Yat.
Moy gets Ah Yat to fly out for the third out.
Kalani goes 1-2-3 against Imanaka, who has settled into a groove.
Surfriders threatening again. Imanaka singles with one out and Kalama singles to right. Runners at the corners with Auld at the plate. Kalama takes off on a delayed steal, draws the throw from the catcher and is tagged out by SS Wee, but he has to spin and fire home. The ball bounces off C Matsumoto’s chest and Imanaka, who would’ve been a dead duck, scores as the ball bounces away. KAIL 7, KLN 2.
Nakamura reaches on a one-out infield single, advances to second on Sasano’s groundout to the pitcher. Lau gets good wood on a pitch, but flies out to second. Imanaka has thrown 57 pitches.
Faria singles to right, but Kalani converts a 4-6-3 double play on a Cantillo grounder.
Kalani still firing blanks against Imanaka. Wee and Kakugawa strike out. Zalewski is hit by pitch, but Matsumoto grounds back to the pitcher, third out.
Thomas reaches on an infield single and Ah Yat’s sac bunt is fielded, then dropped by the catcher, Matsumoto. Everybody’s safe. Runners on second and first, no outs with Kalei Kealoha-Machado at bat. Kealoha-Machado strikes out on a bunt attempt, Imanaka flies out and Kalama strikes out.
Botom half: Awaya doubles to right, Suehiro reaches on an infield error and pinch-hitter Travis Toyama’s blooper toward first drops and spins away from 1B Auld. Bases loaded with Sasano at the plate. No outs.
Sasano is ahead 3-0, Imanaka battles back to 3-2. Sasano check swing, hits the ball toward first. Auld picks it up just before it goes foul and tags Sasano for the first out. Awaya scores from third. Suehiro at third now and Toyama at second. KAIL 7, KLN 3.
That’s it for Imanaka, who went 5 1/3 innings. Cantillo comes in from RF to pitch. Imanaka goes to shortstop and Kadooka, who courtesy ran earlier, is now the RF. Tough spot for Cantillo.
Lau works the count full, lines a single to center, Suehiro scores. KAIL 7, KLN 4.
Cantillo strikes out Wee in a lefty-versus-lefty battle. Then a passed ball on the first pitch to Kakugawa and Toyama scores from third. KAIL 7, KLN 5.
Cantillo gets Kakugawa on a called third strike on the inside corner. Kakugawa struggling, that’s his third strikeout tonight.
First pitch, Moy beans Auld in the back. Moy bears down and gets the next three outs. Going to the bottom of the frame.
Castillo gets ahead of Zalewski, the leadoff man, 0-2. He fouls off a pitch, hits a hard grounder to second, ball is botched. Courtesy runner Cheyne Sueyoshi in for Zalewski at first. Matsumoto grounds to first, Auld steps on the bag, fires to second, but Sueyoshi’s slide forces the ball out of SS Choy Foo’s glove. Runner on second.
Lefty vs. lefty, Cantillo vs. Awaya. 0-2 count, Awaya waves at it, strike three. Two outs. Suehiro, last night’s hero for Kalani, battles Cantillo, fouls off three pitches at 1-2, then sends a blooper to short center. Before it can fall, 2B Faria dives for it and pulls it in for the final out. Great game.
Kailua is the OIA champion for the 13th time. Seventh title under Ishigo.