Sunny afternoon at Kahala Community Park for this OIA Division I quarterfinal game between Kaiser and No. 5 Kalani.
The teams split their series during the regular season. Kaiser ace Kamalu Simeona hurled the Cougars to a 5-2 win over Aiea on Wednesday in the opening round.
Kalani ace Connor Zalewski is on the mound. Chase Asuncion is the starting pitcher for Kaiser. The winner secures an automatic state-tournament berth.
Simeona is hit by pitch with one out. Kainoa Torres grounded to Zalewski, who hesitates on a possible throw to second for a force out. Instead he went to first and retired Torres. Emmert Covello then smacked the first pitch up the middle for a single, scoring Simeona from second. KAIS 1, KLN 0.
Bottom half: Hunter Lau reaches on an infield throwing error. With one out, Reece Kakugawa doubles to right; the slicing ball got the RF turned around. Lau score to tie the game. KLN 1, KAIS 1.
After Zalewski grounds out, Brandon Matsumoto singles to left, scoring Kakugawa from third. KLN 2, KAIS 1.
After Antonio Omphroy reaches second base on a delayed steal (Kalani catcher Matsumoto’s throw to third is high, Lincoln Lima dives back safely), Kaiser has runners at the corners with one out, but did not score.
Zalewski fanned Keoni Pangan and got Kainoa Craig to ground out.
Bottom half: Kohl Suehiro leads off with a walk, Noah Nakamura sac bunt adances Suehiro. Sasano walks and with Lau at the plate, Kalani tries some delayed steal action of its own. Kaiser catcher Covello’s throw to third is short and wide, bounced down the line and Suehiro scores easily. KLN 3, KAIS 1.
Jarryn Wee follows with a sac fly to center, scoring Sasano on a very close play at the plate. Great throw by CF Suehiro. KLN 4, KAIS 1.
Cougars get a couple of runs. Simeona battles back from 1-2 to get a walk. After Torres singles to center, Covello strokes a double to deep center, scoring Simeona and Torres. KLN 4, KAIS 3.
Cougars gamble on Emmett Garcia’s grounder to second. Kakugawa throws out Covello at home on a fielder’s choice.
Bottom half: Matsumoto walks, Payton Awaya doubles to right. Nakamura’s one-out single to center scores courtesy runner Zachary Wing. KLN 5, KAIS 3.
Jace Kaito, who relieved Asuncion in the second inning, retired two of the next three batters to avoid further damage.
With one out and Pangam at the plate, a spectator starts yelling and cussing. The umpire stops the game and asks, “Sir, are we OK?” Game resumes as two other spectators chat with the upset man.
Cougars go 1-2-3.
Falcons add an insurance run against new pitcher Justin Pa’a’aina. Matsumoto is hit by pitch with two outs and Awaya is hit on a full count. Suehiro singles to center, scoring courtesy runner Wong. KLN 6, KAIS 3.
Garcia socks a two-out single to center, but Zalewski gets a fly out by Lima to end the inking.
Bottom half: two more runs for Kalani thanks to three Kaiser errors. Kakugawa’s sac bunt brings Lau home from third. KLN 7, KAIS 3.
Matsumoto’s single to right brings Wee home from second. Fielding error by RF may have allowed that run in, but he throws out Matsumoto at second to end the inning. KLN 8, KAIS 3.
Cougars load the bases with one out and come up empty. Theme of this game for them. Zalewski gets Simeona to fly to short center for the second out. Torres is ahead 3-0, takes a fastball on the outer edge. Then he swings at an almost identical pitch, soft ground out to second. No runs for Kaiser.
Bottom half: Awaya leadoff walk, picked off first by the catcher, Covello. Pa’a’aina walks two of the next three batters and is replaced Omphroy, who strikes out Lau on three pitches to end the inning.
Cougars leave the bases loaded again. That’s 11 men left on base for the game. Kalani advances to the semifinals and secured its first state berth in a decade.