Kailua coach Corey Ishigo talked plainly about Jalen Ah Yat after Thursday’s win.
“Jalen is a leader on our team,” Ishigo said. “Whatever he does, the team will do. It’s not just with his actions on the field. It’s also his personality. He’s the glue to the team.”
Ah Yat went 3-for-4 and drove in Cody Riturban with the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning to push the Surfriders past visiting Pearl City 3-2 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association quarterfinals.
The victory clinched a state berth for Kailua (11-2) and left the Chargers (6-8) scrambling to make the states.
Ah Yat started the game at first base and moved to second when ace Joey Cantillo was relieved after reaching the 110-pitch limit with two outs in the eighth. Cantillo also had a big hand in the win. Aside from striking out 10 in 7 2/3 innings, he singled to right to drive in two runs for a 2-all tie.
That big hit came with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
“Fortunately, hitting-wise I came through,” Cantillo said. “I didn’t really come through for my team the whole first part of the game.”
Freshman Ryan Inouye was the winning pitcher, throwing 2 1/3 innings of two-hit, no-run relief.
“He did a great job today, coming in and closing the game for us,” Ah Yat said.
He didn’t get the decision Thursday, but Cantillo is 18-2 as a pitcher in his four years. Both losses were in the state tournament — 4-0 in the semifinals against Mililani in his freshman year, when he was two outs away from a complete game, and last season, when he tossed a two-hitter in a 5-0 quarterfinal loss to Campbell.
The Surfriders are still in the chase for their eighth OIA title under Ishigo. They won it in 2000, ’01, ’02, ’03, ’05, ’12 and ’16 and they broke through for Division I state championship in ’01.
Kailua has also made it to at least the state Division I quarterfinals every year since ’09, except in ’15, when Ishigo’s team was eliminated in the first round.
In addition, the Surfriders have made it to the D-I state tournament every year since ’00, except in ’04.
Kailua’s D-I state-tourney finishes under Ishigo
>> 2000: Third place (lost 10-0 to Kamehameha in the semifinals; beat ‘Iolani in the third-place game)
>> 2001: First place (beat Mid-Pacific 9-8 in the championship game)
>> 2002: Fourth place (lost to Roosevelt in the third-place game)
>> 2003: Second place (lost to Kamehameha 4-2 in the championship game)
>> 2004: Did not qualify for states
>> 2005: Second place (lost 3-1 to Punahou in the championship game)
>> 2006: Lost 8-4 to Punahou in the first round
>> 2007: Lost 5-3 to Kamehameha-Hawaii in the first round
>> 2008: Lost 4-2 to Kamehameha-Hawaii in the first round
>> 2009: Second place (lost 3-2 to Punahou in championship game)
>> 2010: Lost 4-2 to Saint Louis in the quarterfinals
>> 2011: Tied for third place (lost 13-10 to Pearl City in the semifinals; third-place game cancelled)
>> 2012: Lost 3-2 to Hilo in the quarterfinals
>> 2013: Lost 3-0 to Hilo in the quarterfinals
>> 2014: Fourth place (lost 4-0 to Mililani in the semifinals; lost to Campbell 11-1 in third-place game)
>> 2015: Lost 4-3 to Waiakea in the first round
>> 2016: Lost 5-0 to Campbell in the quarterfinals