Experience lifts No. 1 ‘Iolani over No. 4 Saint Louis

'Iolani's Shaydon Kubo scored a run for the top-ranked Raiders in an 8-5 win over No. 4 Saint Louis to open the ILH season on Wednesday. Photo by Jerry Campany/Star-Advertiser.

We are now officially just over five hours into the Interscholastic League of Honolulu baseball regular season.

‘Iolani, ranked No. 1 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10, came through with a tough 8-5 win over No. 4 Saint Louis on a cloudy, cool afternoon at the Raiders’ field. Cloudy? Cool? In Lower Moiliili?

There were other interesting elements at play. ‘Iolani rolled out their new uniforms, what might be described as power red jerseys with ice pewter numbers and pants. Really fantastic uniforms. The Raiders then played like they were red-hot, super aggressive at the plate. They reminded me a bit of the way Punahou attacked at the plate in the first season of then-coach Kenny Harrison.


From 1 to 9, the Raiders’ lineup was and is efficient. The lead was 6-0 after two innings and the dugout was festive. But the young Crusaders — just five seniors on the roster — never lost confidence. Saint Louis finished the game outhitting ‘Iolani 11-8.

The Raiders had just one batter who paired hits, Cade Yonamine, who had a clutch two-run single in the bottom of the fifth to help his team regain momentum. But the bulk of their offensive success came from teamwork. Sac bunts. Smart baserunning. Matt Inaba scored three runs in a skilled performance at the plate. He was 1-for-1 with two walks and was hit by a pitch. In other words, he didn’t use a single out. Classic.

The Crusaders, like the Raiders, didn’t commit an error. They issued six walks, however, and that was a key factor. But there’s also this: the three Crusaders who each hit 3-for-4 today are underclassmen. Catcher Caleb Lomavita, who homered in the seventh inning, is just a freshman. Stanley McKenzie is just a sophomore, and leadoff man Cole Kashimoto is a junior.

Three underclassmen with a combined 9-for-12. No nerves. When is the last time three hitters on one team each hit 3-for-4 against a No. 1 team? That’s a trivia question for the baseball historians.

It’s all part of another gauntlet ahead for ILH teams. At least there will be three state-tournament berths instead of two, but the sense of urgency and competition will be no less intense. Good for fans, stressful for coaches.


“Nobody’s going unbeaten,” Crusaders coach George Gusman promised. “We were one or two hits away. They clutched up and we couldn’t.”

Experience, Gusman added, makes quite a difference. It’s why Logan Yee, ‘Iolani’s senior reliever, was undaunted when he entered the game in the fifth inning, his team clinging precariously to a 6-4 lead. Saint Louis had the bases loaded and all momentum in their hands.

Yee went slow and then slower.

“I went slower than even I usually would go,” he said.


His 66-mph change-ups were enough to get the final two outs of the ending. Then, by the end of the sixth and through the seventh, Yee went the opposite route and brought tight fastballs on the corners, which led to two strikeouts. Lomavita pounded a solo homer in the seventh, but it wasn’t enough.

“The last inning, they were taking pitches. Coach Gus is old school,” Yee said. “One guy took my change out, but that was OK.”

COMMENTS

  1. 808 February 28, 2018 9:18 pm

    Mckenzie is a sophmore


  2. JustAThought February 28, 2018 9:54 pm

    Great Game Starting off the season Iolani Started Off Aggressive early.

    Key momentum swing was when Home Ump stop the Saint Louis Dugout from Cheering in the 5th. Bases loaded one out Iolani up 6-4, Ump gave SaintLouis Dugout a warning saying that they was cheering too loud, it was bothering the Pitcher?? but rewind to the 1st and 2nd inning when Iolani had their run. They was loud which I thought was a great baseball atmosphere for the Game. The Saint Louis Pitcher was rattled. Don’t understand that rule?


  3. Yes March 1, 2018 6:09 am

    Lomovita is suppose to be a sophomore. He was held back. That’s the thing about ILH a lot of these kids are held back.


  4. older than they are March 1, 2018 8:32 am

    thats also a case with ilh, majority of their athletes are a grade lower than they are supposed to be. another advantage to being ilh. i guess jokes on the parents again cuz the school is making an extra years tuition.


  5. ILH March 1, 2018 9:57 am

    JustAThought February 28, 2018 9:54 pm
    Great Game Starting off the season Iolani Started Off Aggressive early.

    Key momentum swing was when Home Ump stop the Saint Louis Dugout from Cheering in the 5th. Bases loaded one out Iolani up 6-4, Ump gave SaintLouis Dugout a warning saying that they was cheering too loud, it was bothering the Pitcher?? but rewind to the 1st and 2nd inning when Iolani had their run. They was loud which I thought was a great baseball atmosphere for the Game. The Saint Louis Pitcher was rattled. Don’t understand that rule?

    Sounds about right.


  6. Opinion March 1, 2018 1:08 pm

    Kubo, M. yonamine, a bunch of crusaders, majority of the MPI roster all held back. It’s a parental decision. College coaches could care less if kids was held back. All that matters to colleges is 5 years to play 4 after graduation.


  7. level playing field March 1, 2018 1:32 pm

    but why cant oia do that? why cant all oia school get kids from all over the state ad island without having to get a GE? Because they aint the ilh and parents aint paying thousands of dollars? should be a level playing field across the board


  8. Coach/Fan March 1, 2018 5:04 pm

    How’s this for a level playing field? The ILH coaches can only do conditioning and weightlifting in the months leading up to tryouts (baseball and softball, not sure of other sports), but the OIA and outer islands can coach their teams during the winter leagues. In other words, when the season starts, the ILH coaches have only worked with their kids for 3-4 weeks while the OIA coaches have been working with their teams for months.
    Not sure how pre-season results affect State Tournament seedlings later on, but if it does have an impact, that’s not totally fair either.
    But yes, the ILH holding back students a grade doesn’t seem fair. But they have to be a certain age to play in the State Tourney so it’s not like they’re holding them back a number of years.


  9. AieaBoy March 1, 2018 5:53 pm

    Held back or not these kids are ballers. That St. Louis kid Lomavita played against us in Maui last Summer for the Little League Junior 13-14 yr old State Tournament. He’s the real deal. Good thing he didn’t stay at Campbell Coach Rory would have another Gem from Ewa Beach. I must say there is some ballers out of Ewa Beach.

    What if there was no private schools? What would the landscape of teams look like?


  10. Opinion March 2, 2018 5:17 am

    Coach/fan
    You are dead wrong. No head coaches are allowed to coach during fall/winter season. That includes the OIA. Same rule applies for basketball during the the fall. Assistant coaches can coach, not head coaches. There is a first day of official practice set for the entire state. This season for baseball it was January 29. However a huge advantage for the ILH is having intermediate teams. Schools like Punahou, Iolani and St. Louis have 2 intermediate teams which allows kids to learn the system and play games. Like a “farm system”. Non existent for OIA schools.

    Level playing field kids from all over the state do transfer to OIA schools. Huge example is Bartolotti, Maui high’s beat pitcher the last 2 years is now Kapolei’s best player this year in softball. Pitched a CG and hit 2 homeruns against Mililani on Tuesday.


  11. Coach/Fan March 2, 2018 8:45 am

    I’ve seen with my own eyes OIA coaches coaching their teams in the Winter Leagues for both Softball and baseball. Even spoken to a few of them. Even they wondered why the ILH coaches weren’t able to coach during the winter.
    I’m not going to name the schools as I don’t want to get those coaches in trouble, but the OIA coaches do coach before the first day of practice.


  12. Coach/Fan March 2, 2018 8:51 am

    Oh, and I’m referring to OIA head coaches. NO ILH coach can coach during the winter, not even assistants.


  13. ILH March 2, 2018 9:23 am

    AieaBoy March 1, 2018 5:53 pm
    Held back or not these kids are ballers. That St. Louis kid Lomavita played against us in Maui last Summer for the Little League Junior 13-14 yr old State Tournament. He’s the real deal. Good thing he didn’t stay at Campbell Coach Rory would have another Gem from Ewa Beach. I must say there is some ballers out of Ewa Beach.

    What if there was no private schools? What would the landscape of teams look like?

    There would be a lot of butthurt parents whose kids were once starters now sit on the bench. #trueff.


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