Robert Medeiros led a storied career as a three-sport standout for Hilo in the early 1990s.
Now, son Orion Medeiros is carving out a legacy of his own. The younger Medeiros made a clutch, sliding catch in short center field to end the bottom of the sixth inning to help Team ‘Ekahi preserve a 5-4 win over Team ‘Ekolu and reach the final of the inaugural Hawaii Sandlot Classic on Thursday night at Hans L’Orange Park.
Orion Medeiros will be a junior at Kailua this summer. His defensive gem came with ‘Ekolu baserunners at second and third bases and two outs.
“I’m always anticipating when the ball is going to come to, where I’m going to go. I slid and I caught it, helped us get out of the inning,” he said. “It felt safe.”
‘Ekahi coach Robert Medeiros was a bit nervous on the play.
“I thought he lost it in the lights. He looked like he kind of paused, but I know he has the speed. If he had a chance, I knew he would make a play on it. He just needed an opportunity and he made a play for us.”
‘Ekolu starting pitcher Anu Reis had a 3-1 lead entering the top of the third when an error opened a door of opportunity for ‘Ekahi, which scored four runs to regain the edge. Reis went three innings and struck out five.
Arakaki worked the count to 3-1 in the top of the fourth against new pitcher Nuu Contrades and singled up the middle. In the meantime, ‘Ekahi pitchers tossed three scoreless innings in a row.
In the the bottom of the fifth, ‘Ekolu broke the drought. Reis singled to center, stole second base and later scored on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly. With the bases loaded, ‘Ekahi pitcher Shayden Lovediro struck out Jarvis to end the inning.
‘Ekolu had runners at third and second in the bottom of the sixth when ‘Ekahi’s center fielder, Medeiros, made a sliding catch in short center to end the inning.
‘Ekahi had a runner on base in the top of the seventh when Arakaki stepped into the box and fell behind in the count, 1-2, for the first time in the tourney. He struck out swinging after reaching base six consecutive times against Contrades.
The junior-to-be from Saint Louis then retired the next two batters to end the threat.
‘Ekolu’s Joshua Aribal opened the bottom of the seventh with a single to right and advanced to second base on a groundout. Three pitches later, he was thrown out attempting to steal third base. A fly ball ended the game.
“This team, I don’t know if we have a compilation of the best athletes or players, but they’re certainly the most feisty, I think,” Coach Medeiros said. “I think that’s the way they have to play. Just charge, do the best they can to make a play and hopefully it goes well for us.”
In two games thus far, Arakaki is 3-for-4 with three walks, three runs, an RBI and two stolen bases.
Xander Sielken, a Saint Louis junior-to-be, pitched four innings for ‘Ekahi and got the win.
“He’s a position player and a pitcher. He gave up three (in the first inning) and then he shut them down for the next three. Then we had Lovediro for two innings, and we closed with (Jeremiah) Lono,” Coach Medeiros said.
The big play in the bottom of the seventh was a rifle throw by ‘Ekahi catcher Lucas Stumbaugh of Maryknoll.
“Tough kid. He was a last-minute addition. A boy from the Big Island dropped out,” said Medeiros, who played catcher for the Rainbows. “We were able to find him. He made the team for Team Hawaii. Thank God. He’s thrown out a couple of guys for us. Good hitter, good contact hitter. I think (Aribal) went on his own. I know the coach. He’s not conservative, but he’d know better than to try and take the base. I think (Aribal) had a good jump. He was a little deeper, so that adds a few feet. I don’t think (Stumbaugh) was expecting it, but he’s always alert. That kid’s smart. He’s savvy. He knows what’s going on. He knows how to play the game.”
Facing future Division I college players like Reis, a commit to Hawaii, is an eye-opening experience for youngsters like Medeiros. He just completed 10th grade.
“It’s really good. The first pitcher (Reis), when I was hitting against him, just to see it, to get some reps off of him, he’s going to be at UH. To see that was good. I didn’t do that good, but it’s good experience,” Medeiros said. “I think he was throwing mid-80s.”
Robert Medeiros was part of Hilo’s renaissance in football as a quarterback, breaking Konawaena’s gridiron dynasty at the time. He also sparked the Vikings basketball and baseball teams before playing for Hawaii. He has since coached as an assistant at the prep level, and now spends his time with his children.
“I think he has more skills than I had growing up. He’s quicker. I might have the better arm, but he’s savvy. Growing up on the Big Island, we played more, more pick-up style whether it was basketball or other sports,” the older Medeiros said. “He’s pretty much baseball year-round. I don’t know if it’s an advantage or not, but I think he’s always been a late bloomer. I’d like to think he’s going to do a little better than I did.”