It was a marathon of a game, which can be a hazard for young baseball teams.
For No. 10 Kailua, having a veteran like Jalen Ah Yat always helps. The senior stabilized the Surfriders on the mound with 1 2/3 innings in relief, including three strikeouts, and cracked a game-winning, walk-off single with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning as Kailua outlasted Kalani 6-5 on Saturday night at Les Murakami Stadium.
What was a bit amazing was seeing Ah Yat move from third base to the mound, throw just a few warmup pitches, and then go to work with fastballs and sliders for strike after strike.
“I got four (warmup) pitches. My arm was already loose. I was just focused on hitting my spots. Fastballs, aways, and my slider was on today, so really helped. Hitting that outside pitch was really working for us,” Ah Yat said.
Kalani was in good form most of the night, getting a solid stint in relief from Riece Meyers, who took the hard-luck loss. The Falcons are young, like the Surfriders, and their 1-4 mark in the OIA East is deceptive. Kailua, now 4-1 and tied with Kaiser for the league lead, isn’t close to peaking, coach Corey Ishigo said.
“I know there’s much more room to get better. Our pitchers need to throw strikes and work ahead int he count,” he said.
Including Ah Yat, Kailua used five pitchers against Kalani. Between the two squads, there were 14 walks, five hit batters, two wild pitches and a balk. It was the kind of game under the bright lights that makes an inexperienced team grow up some, win or lose.
“We’re a very young team this year. We don’t have all the big guys like we used to, but these guys are starting to learn,” Ah Yat said. “We’re getting better together. We’re getting there. We’re working hard every day. The younger guys are coming out and they’re doing their stuff.”
At Les Murakami Stadium
2 outs when winning run scored
Kalani (4-8, 1-4 OIA East) 000 050 0 — 5 5 2
Kailua (6-5-2, 4-1 OIA East) 000 230 1 — 6 8 0
Tyrus Viela, Ryan Arquero (5), Riece Myers (5) and Spencer Kim.
Ryan Inouye, Raven Gauthe-Santos (4), Shai Lolo-Tamashiro (5),Quinn McMurray (6), Jalen Ah Yat (6) and Kalua Neves. W—Ah Yat. L—Myers.
Leading hitters—Kalani: Brandon Ting 1-2, RBI, run, BB, HBP; Jace Tsutomi 1-1, RBI, run, 2 HBP, BB; Kim 1-4, 2 RBIs. Kailua: Brandon Sarae 1-4, 2 RBIs, 2B, BB; Bryson Ewaliko 1-4, 2 RBIs, run, 2B.