Every time No. 4 Saint Louis and No. 5 Punahou play baseball this season, there’s a little mini drama going on, especially when the Crusaders’ Dawson Yamaguchi is pitching.
That’s because the senior left-hander and Buffanblu junior first baseman Kyson Donahue are the best of friends, growing up in Kahala about two blocks from each other.
Yamaguchi had his way on Saturday at Ala Wai Community Park. He went the full seven innings, struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter in a 3-0 victory over Punahou in an Interscholastic League of Honolulu postseason tournament victory. Saint Louis (12-4) moved on in the winners bracket and will play No. 1 Kamehameha (13-3) on Tuesday. The Crusaders also pushed the Buffanblu (11-6) down to the losers bracket, where they face elimination Tuesday against ‘Iolani.
But Donahue wasn’t the clear loser in the one-one-one battle with his buddy. He went 2-for-3.
“Me and Kyson grew up together,” Yamaguchi said. “Every summer, every winter, he’s like, ‘Dude let’s go to the park, let’s throw some BP. I want to hit.’ So I’ll say, ‘All right, man I’ll help you get some work in.’ Every time he comes up to the plate, he’s automatically in my head. I see him in the box like that on every break we have from school. He just has that upper hand on me.”
Added Donahue: “The pitcher across the field is my best friend. He’s a good pitcher. He’s been a four-year veteran on the varsity. He knows his stuff. He knows how to work batters. He’s probably one of the best pitchers in the ILH right now. We hang out all the time. I’ve played with the guy since I was like in Pinto, so I grew up with him my whole life and always played baseball with him. It’s fun competition.”
The two teams could meet again. Both are battling for the league’s second berth into the state tournament. Kamehameha, as the regular-season winner, has already qualified.
Whoever wins the ILH tournament will also get in. If Kamehameha wins the the league tourney, the Crusaders (second place in the regular season) can get in by finishing second. The Buffanblu may have a bit of a tougher road. If they place second to Kamehameha in the tournament, they would have to win a playoff game against Saint Louis to get in.