With the way Kamehameha’s Kelena Sauer was throwing against Mid-Pacific, one run was all he needed.
Beau Sylvester made sure he got it.
Sylvester broke a scoreless tie with a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the sixth inning and Sauer worked a perfect seventh inning to complete a 1-0 shutout over the Owls (7-8) to open the ILH double-elimination tournament on Saturday at Ala Wai field.
Sauer struck out five, walked one and allowed two infield hits for Kamehameha (10-6). He needed just 75 pitches to get through a game that took all of one hour and 28 minutes.
“I feel really good. They’re a really good hitting team and I know they practice a lot. To do that against them feels good,” he said. “I think the win as a team motivates us to do even better, for the hitters and pitchers to just keep striving.”
Sauer outdueled Mid-Pacific starter Jaydon Tomas, who tossed a complete game gem himself, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out six.
“(Sauer) was great but Tomas was outstanding as well. I tip my hat to him, too,” Kamehameha coach Daryl Kitagawa said. “The entire Mid-Pac team, they play the game the right way and we really respect what they do. We just try to give it our all.”
Sauer and Tomas were both supported by error-free defenses. With the teams in a scoreless deadlock in the bottom of the sixth, Sylvester stepped up to the plate with two outs and Kobe Iwai on first. After going 0-for-2 in his previous at bats, Sylvester belted the first pitch he saw his third time at the plate, a gapper to left center that gave Iwai ample time to score the game’s only run.
Originally not on the varsity roster, Kitagawa recently decided to call up Sylvester up from the JV team. He says the young freshman has been hitting the ball too well to keep him out of the lineup. On Saturday, that belief paid off in a big way.
“I got all curves my first two at bats so I was just looking to see if he was gonna come over with the fastball and he did. I saw it and I took it,” Sylvester said. “After that one run, I knew Kelena was not gonna give it up.”
“He’s a freshman, super good hitter and I really like him on our team,” Sauer said.
The Warriors advance to face top-seeded Punahou on Monday at 3 p.m., again at Ala Wai. While Kitagawa hopes the momentum carries over against the Buffanblu, he knows it’ll take more than that to knock off the regular season champs.
“We’re hoping it will, to be honest. But then we also have to stay in the moment, one pitch at a time, one at bat at a time and really one game at a time,” he said. “We just gotta stay in the moment and give it our all and whatever happens, happens.”
Mid-Pacific falls into the losers bracket and will play again either Monday or Tuesday.
The ILH baseball scheduled will be updated here.