Defending state champion Punahou opens 2020 where it left off as No. 1

Punahou winning pitcher Tyler Shimabukuro celebrated after recording the final out to win the state title on Maui last year. Photo by Rodney Yap/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

The Punahou Buffanblu will begin their 2020 season where they left off last year.

The defending ILH and state champions received nine of 10 first-place votes to earn the No. 1 ranking in the first Honolulu Star-Advertiser Baseball Top 10 of the new season.

The Buffanblu will open the regular season Tuesday against No. 4 Saint Louis at Central Oahu Regional Park after going 5-0 in the preseason with wins over Mililani, Pearl City and Hilo.

Punahou returns seven starters from last year’s team, including All-State first-team third baseman Makana Murashige, second-team selections Aaron Tom, Koa Eldredge and Cody Hirano and third-team second baseman Kalae Harrison.

Mililani, the defending OIA champion who finished runner-up to Punahou in the state tournament, is No. 5 in the Star-Advertiser rankings to start the season.

Baldwin, which went 9-1 in the preseason with its only loss against Saint Louis, is No. 2 in the rankings ahead of No. 3 Mid-Pacific, which received the other first-place vote. The Owls were impressive in the preseason, going 10-2 with wins over Mililani, Kalani, Kaiser, Kailua and Campbell twice among others.

Their only loss to an Oahu team was against the Trojans.

MPI begins its season in the second game of a doubleheader against Pac-Five on Tuesday at Hans L’Orange Park in a game broadcast by Spectrum OC16.

Waiakea, which is one of only two teams in the state to return two first-team All-State players in first baseman Safea Mauai and outfielder Kala’i Rosario, is No. 6.

No. 7 Kamehameha, No. 8 Kailua, No. 9 Campbell and No. 10 ‘Iolani round out the Top 10.

There were 16 different teams to receive at least one vote with Hilo falling just two votes shy of the Raiders with 17. Maui (seven), Aiea (six), KS-Maui (one), Kaiser (one) and Kalani (one) were the others.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10

Updated: Aug. 9
1.Kahuku (14)149
2.Mililani (1)136
3.Saint Louis103
8. Kamehameha44


  1. Opinion March 9, 2020 8:11 pm

    Gotta love how ILH teams automatically get voted high in the rankings. Does anybody know that St. Louis lost to Leilehua 6-2,got mercy ruled by kaiser 13-3 and tied D2 Radford 6-6? With starters playing in those games. Kamehameha has a losing record in preseason. It’s really sad to continue to see this year in and year out.

  2. Against Your Opinion March 9, 2020 8:39 pm

    @Opinion, my oh my the haters are coming out. First things first, Punahou deserves number 1. As for the rest of the standings. Does it matter, if your team is not ranked as high ??? Week 1 ranking doesn’t matter anyway. ILH usually has the better teams anyway, because they have a talent pool. And you must love the Crusaders you’re stat tracking every game. Let me know what happen in Maui???

  3. Opinion March 9, 2020 9:11 pm

    Against your opinion
    At what point did I say Punahou doesn’t deserve to be #1? Yes look hard. I didn’t. As for the rest of the rankings, what’s the sense if we go by your theory of OT it not having any significance. I’ll tell U what happen on Maui. Crusaders scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 6th to erase a 4-0 lead against Waiakea. Got no hit by Maui until 2 outs in the 7th inning. Game ended 0-0. And beat Baldwin’s backside pitching rotation 4-0. Baldwin didn’t throw their ace. Any more questions?

  4. ALLILH March 9, 2020 9:45 pm

    Where’s the home grown talent of Kahuku on this baseball ranking? Does no one in Utah or Samoa play baseball who has an aunty or uncle in Kahuku that they can come down for the season? They do it for football and basketball?

  5. Opinion, use your time more wisely March 9, 2020 10:05 pm

    @opinion, boy are you bitter and it shows. Get a grip. Get a life. Pray that peace washes over you.

  6. Opinion, one more question, actually two. March 9, 2020 10:12 pm

    @opinion. Yes, 1) how mature are you? And 2) why do you have so much time on your hands dissecting irrelevant preseason info. Concern yourself with covid19, global warming and world hunger. I’ve wasted enough brain cells indulging your rant. But kind of scary that you know this teams every breath…creeper status lurking on perversion.

  7. ILoveHawaii March 10, 2020 9:14 am

    ALL ILH-
    Wrong shape ball Uso.

  8. Crusader Fan March 10, 2020 9:42 am

    @ Opinion !! Fact Check !!

    Games against Radford and Lelehua both Scrimmages.
    Lelehua game: All Backups except one player. Loss 8-6 ( Not 6-2 )
    Radford game: (6-6 ) One bad inning for the pitcher, and to Radford’s credit, the Ace pitcher did very well.

    Kaiser: First game of season. Saint Louis won 8-3.
    Second game against Kaiser a make shift game at Kaiser because Millilani got rained out. Played 9 innings to get rep for both teams. Tied up 3-3 in the 6th before both teams unloaded there benches. But I believe Kaiser will be a good hitting team this year. And yes 13-3 Loss

    Baldwin Tournament:
    Saint Louis vs Baldwin ( 4-0 ) Crusaders win ( Ace pitcher or not, it was still zero for Baldwin )

    Saint Louis vs Waiakea ( 5-4 ) Crusaders win ( Saint Louis plays all back ups except for one starter the whole game due to a double header and still pull off the win against the 1st team of Waiakea, including Rosario and Mauea )

    Saint Louis vs Maui High ( 0-0 ) Good Pitching both sides ( But Crusaders had 7 hits compared to Maui’s 1 a blooper over first base )

    Saint Louis vs Kam Maui ( 3-0 ) Crusaders win.

    So in Maui we keep the Maui teams scoreless. Give the boys some kind of credit!!!

    #FakeNews@Opinion Good luck to all teams this season.

  9. ILoveHawaii March 10, 2020 9:49 am

    Seems pretty representative of those teams that have had consistent success the past few years.

    I mean, Im pretty sure that most of these teams will be in the state tournament.

    No D2 for you, (soup nazi voice).

  10. ALWAYS RIGHT March 10, 2020 9:57 am

    This article doesn’t even mention Punahou’s 1st team all state Third Baseman Murashige. They also returned 7 starters from last year’s lineup and as much as I hate to say it with some decent pitching they should be the front-runners to win again this year.

  11. UNDER DAWG March 10, 2020 11:57 am


  12. Billy Hull March 10, 2020 12:05 pm

    Shoot, that was my fault. We had him listed as a senior on the All-State team last year. Thanks for the heads up.

  13. ILoveHawaii March 10, 2020 2:11 pm

    Did the crusaders make it to the state tournament last year??

  14. turfwar March 10, 2020 3:50 pm

    Yup. Doesn’t get interesting until the ILH vs OIA banter starts.

  15. BBinHI March 10, 2020 4:01 pm

    Does Iolani have a chance this year? See them listed at #10

  16. TEDIUM March 11, 2020 8:59 pm


  17. Prep Baseball Fan March 12, 2020 4:27 am

    The rankings have always been that way but who cares the teams who can get their kids to play consistant ball and peak at the right time will be there in the state tourney the rankings is nothing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email