Kuratani & Wong: Catcher, Ace lead ‘Canes

Kapolei's Tristen Manoha-Diaz (1) scores at home plate during the second inning of the 2016 OIA Division II baseball championship game between the Kalaheo Mustangs and the Kapolei Hurricanes on Saturday, April 23, 2016 at Hans L'Orange Park in Waipahu.  Kapolei won 9-4. Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser
Kapolei’s Tristen Manoha-Diaz (1) scores at home plate during the second inning of the 2016 OIA Division II baseball championship game between the Kalaheo Mustangs and the Kapolei Hurricanes on Saturday, April 23, 2016 at Hans L’Orange Park in Waipahu. Kapolei won 9-4. Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser

There is nothing but pride on the West side once again, but this time, it’s the baseball team at Kapolei beaming.

One year after Campbell’s HHSAA Division I state championship, it’s the Hurricanes making inroads at the D-II level. With a come-from-behind 9-4 win over Kalaheo on Saturday at Hans L’Orange Park, the ‘Canes captured their first league title in D-II.

Kamea Wong was resilient on the mound for coach Thomas Ebanez’s squad with nine strikeouts in 6 innings. He struggled early on — six walks in all — but finished strong.


“I wanted to finish. I had to tell them,” the left-hander said. “I appreciate that they let me (pitch longer). I had to push through it.”

Catcher Mykah Kuratani (2-for-4, double, two runs scored) called the pitches.

“In the pen (before the game), he was really hitting his spots with the fastball and curve. In the game, I think was kind of nervous until he started finding it,” Kuratani said.


“There were a couple of instances where we thought about pulling him,” Coach Ebanez said. “But he’s such a competitor. He begged to stay in. When a dog wants a bone, you give it to him.”

Kalaheo, like Kapolei, is heading to Hilo next week for the D-II state championships.

“The past few games, they’re jelling, practices are better and they’re playing with more passion and emotion,” Mustangs coach Jerry Bush said of his team.


Kapolei (13-0) may still have its best baseball ahead.

“We just focus,” Kuratani said. “Keep working hard and stick to the game plan, and trust our coaching.”

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