WAILUKU — All things being equal, there was something special from the lower half of the lineup for the Kaiser Cougars.
Gyson Oshiro delivered two key base hits, driving in a run in the fourth inning and two more in the seventh as Kaiser upset Campbell 6-4 to advance into the quarterfinal round of the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA Baseball State Championships at Iron Maehara Stadium. Noah Matsumoto, batting ninth, was a difference-maker with a 2-for-3 effort, including an RBI single in the sixth.
Campbell had climbed back from a four-run deficit within 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth. Oshiro was behind in the count, 1-2.
“Coach Kila (Kaaihue) preaches staying up the middle,” said Oshiro, a second baseman. “For the most part I was just trying to stay in there and shoot the ball the other way. It was a fastball, outside part of the field.”
The Cougars (13-12-1) don’t consider themselves underdogs. Not the way they can score runs.
“They’re a good group, and these boys can hit. Once they figure out what’s going on, they get to a good place and they put it together,” Kaaihue said.
Kaaihue praised the performance of starting pitcher Pono Lyman, who allowed one earned run, struck out five and walked none.
“This is definitely his best game. It could’ve been a lot better,” Kaaihue said. “We made two crucial errors. Those errors put another 20, 30 pitches on him. Only one earned run, but they still scored. Even though it was a 4-0 game at the time, nothing is done. We’ve kind of struggled with that throughout the year. Made errors at the wrong time. Walked guys we shouldn’t have walked. Today, we found a way. When they scored, we came back and scored. It’s a good team win. That game’s over and we’re looking forward to the next one.”
Punahou and Kaiser have not met yet. They play each other in the quarterfinals.
“I haven’t seen Punahou play much. We played them in the preseason once. I know a couple of their guys, especially (Jake) Tsukada. He can hit. I know they’ve got pitching. I’ve always told our boys that if we play the way that we can play, it doesn’t matter who we play. There’s a bunch of good teams out there, but I try to focus on our guys more than anything and get our guys ready to play,” Kaaihue said.
Will Kaiser find another pitcher to deliver a Lyman-type performance on Thursday?
“The guy who we thought was going to go (on Thursday), he’s not feeling good right now,” Kaaihue said. “We’ve got time to figure it out. When we do, we go.”