Kailua’s Bryson Ballesteros tossed a one-hit shutout and Kailua is a win away from its third consecutive OIA title and 15th overall following a 1-0 win over Pearl City on Friday night at Les Murakami Stadium.
The Surfriders (12-2) scored their only run on a sacrifice fly in the second inning. Kalua Neves led off with a single to right, and courtesy runner Brandon Sarae went to second on Dylan Kurahashi Choy-Foo’s bunt single.
Stone Parker then laid down a bunt that went off the glove of third baseman Jensen Kaya, who may have had a play on Sarae at third. Instead, after the deflection, he went to first for the inning’s first out before the Surfriders’ Dakota Kadooka lofted a sacrifice fly to right for what turned out to be the game’s only run.
“I think we could have made that play at first,” Chargers shortstop Matt Aribal said. “It was mental mistakes more than physical mistakes.”
Ballesteros was masterful, despite four walks. He struck out eight and the only hit he gave up was to Shawn Iwane in the fifth.
“It was a close game,” Kailua coach Corey Ishigo said. “They (the Chargers) pitched well. They played great defense. We weren’t able to score too many runs today. Bryson threw a lot of strikes. He hit spots and mixed up his pitches really well today. We rely on our pitching and defense. We haven’t been able to score too many runs this year. I feel like we’re a better hitting team than what we’re showing now, so hopefully we’ll come through sooner or later.”
The Surfriders are going for their ninth OIA title under Ishigo.
Kailua could become the third team to repeat in the last decade. Pearl City won four straight from 2007 to ’10 and Campbell won three in a row from 2013 to ’15.
“To go for three in a row, that’s a great feeling,” Neves said. “Our team is finally putting together what we can do. We’re putting the bat on the ball and we’re making plays defensively, so we’re looking like we’re in pretty good shape right now.”