Experienced Warriors back in semis

Waiakea sophomore Kalei Rosario singled home a run in the first inning and finished 2-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs to lead the Warriors past Campbell 6-2 in the state quarterfinals on Wednesday. Photo by Jerry Campany/Star-Advertiser.

For the first time in more than a decade, the Waiakea Warriors have reached the semifinals of the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA State Baseball Championships in back-to-back years.

Fresh off a runner-up finish to Maui last year, the undefeated Warriors (16-0) were the first team on Wednesday to punch their ticket to the semifinals with a 6-2 win over Campbell in the first of four games at Les Murakami Stadium.

Waiakea started five returnees from last year’s squad and added an impressive sophomore in Kalai Rosario, who finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs as Waiakea scored the most runs Campbell (14-3) has given up in a game this season.

The Warriors hadn’t advanced to the semifinals in back-to-back years since making it four straight times from 2003 to ’06.

“We knew Campbell is a great team with a great pitcher and for us it was just get on base, put on pressure and you hope for the hits when you need them,” Waiakea coach Rory Inouye said. “Today we were lucky and we got those hits.”

Rosario’s two-run triple gave the Warriors a 3-1 lead in the third inning against Campbell ace Jamin Kalaola, who entered the game 3-0 this season.

Kalaola failed to get an out in the fourth inning and gave up three runs on six hits with three walks.

Waiakea senior Casey Yamauchi led off the first and third innings with singles and scored both teams to give starter David Nakamura enough run support.

Nakamura, a 5-foot-9 senior left-hander who threw a seven-hit shutout in the state semifinals a year ago against Kamehameha, went 6 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits.

Devin Midel replaced Nakamura, who had given up back-to-back walks, and recorded the final two outs to earn the save.

Nakamura gave up just four hits and walked three with four strikeouts.

“All year long David has been our ace and kept guys off balance and shut guys down,” Inouye said. “It was great to see him go out there and give us another great performance today.”

Nakamura also helped himself at the plate with a two-run double as part of a three-run seventh inning to give Waiakea a comfortable cushion.

Designated hitter Safea Mauai doubled Waiakea’s lead to 4-2 with an RBI double and Nakamura’s hit made it a four-run margin.

Campbell used four different pitchers in the inning.

The Warriors will play in the first semifinal on Thursday at 4 p.m. against the winner of tonight’s 7 p.m. quarterfinal between Kailua and Mid-Pacific.

Campbell (14-3) finished the year advancing to the state quarterfinals for the sixth straight season. No. 9 hitter Charles Monell led the Sabers with two hits and second baseman Shayden Sabangan scored twice.

at Les Murakami Stadium
Campbell (14-3) 001 010 0 — 2 4 0
Waiakea (16-0) 102 003 x — 6 9 3
Jamin Kalaola, Tyrus Stephens (4), Darien Robinson (6), Zachary Palipti (6), Logan Caravalho (6) and Dylan Ramon. David Nakamura, Devin Midel (7) and Jacob Igawa. W—Nakamura. L—Kalaola. S—Midel.
Leading hitters—Camp: Shayden Sabangan 2 runs; Charles Monell 2-2, bb. Waik: Casey Yamuchi 2-4, 2 runs; Nakamura 2b, 2 RBIs; Kalai Rosario 2-4, 3b, 3 RBIs; Safea Mauai 2-3, 2b, RBI.

Waiakea’s David Nakamura allowed one earned run in 6 1/3 innings to win a game in the state tournament for the second straight year. Photo by Jerry Campany/Star-Advertiser.
Campbell catcher Dylan Ramon lifted a sacrifice fly to cut Waiakea’s lead to 3-2 in the fifth inning. Photo by Jerry Campany/Star-Advertiser.
Campbell freshman left-hander Tyrus Stephens worked out of a two-on, no-out jam in the fourth inning after entering the game as a reliever. Photo by Jerry Campany/Star-Advertiser.
Waiakea’s Safea Mauai connected on an RBI double in the top of the seventh inning to put the Warriors ahead 4-2. Photo by Jerry Campany/Star-Advertiser.


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