There is meaning in every season, every game, every inning.
Every pitch. The early-morning sun was unkind, but the Campbell Sabers made the most of their opportunity. Eliminated from title contention two days earlier, they took the diamond at historic Iron Maehara Stadium and belted out a song of victory, blanking Maui 3-0 to stay alive for one more day.
Ayzek Silva, arguably the best pitcher in the OIA, perhaps in the state, got his turn and fired a four-hitter.. The 6-foot-2 southpaw struck out eight and walked two, hit one batter. For Silva and shortstop Ikaika Ganancial, it was no different than it was for the rest of the Sabers. A win meant a chance to play Saint Louis on Saturday for fifth place. A loss would have ended the season. Nobody was ready to stop playing.
“This is my last game pitching here for Campbell. I enjoyed every moment of it. I’ll cherish all the memories,” Silva said.
The stunning 6-4 loss to Kaiser ended state title hopes for seniors.
“When we took the loss, we kind of regrouped,” Ganancial said. “It was hard to accept, but coming back today and just knowing we have games to play, even for us as seniors, we’re going to live in the moment.”
Silva, as always, was as poised and introspective off the field as he is on it.
“The coaches decided to go with Dayton (Robinson). They trusted him and he threw strikes, but we had a hard time hitting that day. It just didn’t go our way,” Silva said.
Ganancial, a speedster on the base paths with tremendous range at shortstop, was pragmatic. Kaiser, he noted, simply played well.
“Kaiser was spreading the ball across the field. Not everyone could shift, play off pitch. They can go deep in the count, which forced (us) to throw a lot of fastballs, and they just played contact and got it into gaps,” he said.
Going into the semifinal round of the tourney, five of the OIA’s six entries have been eliminated. Mililani plays top seed Baldwin on Friday night.