Not winning an OIA title hurt for Radford, but Rams coach Jacob Sur knew his team had bigger goals in mind.
After today’s 3-2 win over Kapaa in eight innings at Les Murakami Stadium, the Rams clinched a spot in Friday’s HHSAA Division II championship game after DJ Kabua’s walk with the bases loaded. Meanwhile, the Farrington team that it lost to on April 21 fell to Damien in the other semifinal.
A walk off walk for DJ Kabua and Radford, who win 3-2 in eight innings over Kapaa. The Rams advance to tomorrow’s @HHSAAsports D-II championship against Damien. @HawaiiPrepWorld pic.twitter.com/ox1BSfnoxz
— Christian Shimabuku (@c_shimabuku) May 11, 2018
“That’s what we told the kids — there’s a bigger picture to everything. OIA would’ve been great if we would’ve won it, but there was a bigger picture that we wanted out of the season and everything is set up for tomorrow,” Sur said. “I’m very proud of the kids for working their tails off. After the OIA they could’ve folded, they had a long layoff.”
Following 18 days between games, the Rams kicked off state tournament play with a 6-4 win over No. 2 seed Kamehameha-Hawaii on Wednesday night at Hans L’Orange Field — a game that went long into the night. Jack Dillon, the team’s ace, tossed 6 1/3 innings before reaching the pitch limit.
On Thursday, Richard Akana got the starting nod and the junior delivered in a big way. Akana went the whole eight innings to earn the win, needing just 85 pitches to do so.
“I just had to command my fastball and throw my pitches for strikes,” he said. “I had to shut them down with my curveball. My changeup wasn’t working today. I had to trust my defense as well and they had my back today.”
Despite having a no-hitter broken up by Kade Kuhipea in the sixth inning, Akana settled down and ended his outing with two perfect innings. He finished with one walk, three hits and three strikeouts.
“I felt pretty loose,” Akana said. “I had confidence in myself and the team had confidence in me to come into the game today and pitch.”
Afterwards, Sur stated Akana being able to go the distance was crucial in more ways than one. Tommy Tereschuk, who struck out the only two batters he faced against Kamehameha-Hawaii, will be good to go against the Monarchs.
If Tereschuk were to come out of the bullpen against Kapaa, he would have been ineligible to pitch on Friday because no pitchers are allowed to pitch three consecutive days in the HHSAA.
“That’s huge for us, setting us up for tomorrow. We have three pitchers that have been consistent throughout the season,” Sur said. “It was a big performance out of (Akana), to save our bullpen and be ready for tomorrow.”
Damien will be set up favorably as well. Monarchs ace Bryce Uyeno was pulled after throwing 47 pitches on Wednesday, making him eligible to pitch on Friday. With the exception of Milton Gainey, who threw 62 pitches on Thursday, the Monarchs will have every other pitcher available.
Regardless of who appears on the mound for either team, history will be made. Radford has a chance to bring home its second state championship in baseball and its first since 1979, while a Damien win tomorrow would be the school’s first in the sport.
“We feel pretty loose. (Wednesday) was a pretty hard game, but (Thursday) was a hard game as well. After the relief of winning, we have more confidence in ourselves,” Akana said. “Damien is a pretty good team as well but we just gotta bring our “A” game.”
|1||May 9||(4) Molokai vs. Farrington||Far, 12-8||Hans L'Orange Park|
|2||May 9||(3) Kapaa vs. Waianae||Kapa, 9-3||Hans L'Orange Park|
|3||May 9||(1) Damien vs. Konawaena||DMS, 11-1 (5)||Hans L'Orange Park|
|4||May 9||(2) KS-Hawaii vs. Radford||Rad, 6-4||Hans L'Orange Park|
|5*||May 10||Konawaena vs. Molokai||Kona, 6-1||Hans L'Orange Park|
|6*||May 10||KS-Hawaii vs. Waianae||KSH, 7-3||Hans L'Orange Park|
|7||May 10||Damien vs. Farrington||DMS, 8-3||Les Murakami Stadium|
|8||May 10||Radford vs. Kapaa||Rad, 3-2 (8)||Les Murakami Stadium|
|9*||May 11||Konawaena vs. KS-Hawaii||KSH, 7-3||Les Murakami Stadium|
|10*||May 11||Farrington vs. Kapaa||Kap, 7-6||Les Murakami Stadium|
|11||May 11||Damien vs. Radford||DMS, 12-0 (5)||Les Murakami Stadium|
|* — consolation|