Nobody was surprised two years ago when Campbell and its stacked pitching staff claimed the state title as the No. 1 seed in Division I.
Recent history suggests that more people probably should have been.
That season is the only time in the last nine years that the No. 1 seed advanced to the semifinals of the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA Baseball State Championships. The streak continued on Thursday night as ILH champion Saint Louis, fresh off three straight wins against Kamehameha to win the league title, was knocked off by Maui, 8-6, in the final game of the evening at Les Murakami Stadium.
Micah Jio went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and allowed three runs in six innings to earn the win for Maui (12-5), which advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2008.
Saint Louis (16-6) became the fourth seeded team to lose on Thursday, marking the first time since 2009 that all four seeded teams lost in the quarterfinals. Over the last four state tournaments, seeded teams are a lowly 4-12 in the quarterfinals.
“The state tournament, man, it’s very stressful,” Maui coach Chase Corniel said. “No matter what, no team is out, no lead is safe.”
Corniel watched his Sabers hold an 8-3 lead with two outs in the seventh inning only to see four straight Saint Louis batters reach base.
Charles Lopez’s RBI single made it an 8-4 game and Kai Perreira-Alquiza followed with his second double of the game to drive in two more.
Reliever Jyrah Lalim then hit the next two batters to put the tying and winning runs on base.
Saint Louis had state player of the year candidate Keith Torres ready in the on-deck circle, but he was left there when designated hitter Makana Ontai grounded out to second on the first pitch he saw from Lalim to end it.
“They have a lot of character and I told them they had to buy into it as a team and my boys did that from day one,” Corniel said about his club. “Sticking together and we just have to keep their confidence up and they’re riding a high wave right now.”
Maui has scored 20 runs in two state tournament games. Saint Louis, meanwhile, finished with six runs. It’s the highest run total scored in a game by any team in the tournament not named Maui.
Campbell and Waiakea are the other two teams to advance to the semifinal and they’ve scored 10 and seven runs respectively in two games.
The semifinals will feature a pair of Warriors in Kamehameha and Waiakea in the first semifinal at 4 p.m., followed by an all-Sabers nightcap between Maui and Campbell.