The semifinals are underway on a sunny, slightly breezy afternoon at Iron Maehara Stadium.
Final: Mililani 2, Baldwin 1
Mililani will meet Punahou for the state title on Saturday, 6 p.m.
Bot 8: Like Baldwin, Mililani has the top of the order lined up. Suehisa rips the first pitch from Constantino off the first-base bag for a single. After three throws by Constantino to first base, Oshiro’s sac bunt moves Suehisa to second base. Baldwin coach Shane Dudoit approaches the mound and that’s all for Constantino, who pitched 2 1/3 innings. Varner, who relieved Haole on Thursday night against Waiakea, moves from right field to the mound. He got the final two outs for the save in that quarterfinal win. Varner throws a ball in the dirt that ricochets up, wild pitch, and Suehisa runs to third base. Still one out. Thomas is walked intentionally here, runners at the corners, setting up a potential double play. Now the Bears intentionally walk Winchester, and the bases are loaded for Inouye. No, it’s a pinch hitter, Anu Reis, a lefty sophomore. First pitch to Reis is a wild pitch, Suehisa scores. Shades of the OIA championship game. MILILANI 2, BALDWIN 1.
Top 8: The ideal scenario for Baldwin as the leadoff man in their lineup, Haku Dudoit, steps in. But he takes a called third strike and Oshiro records the first strikeout of the night by Mililani. Oshiro is up on Reyn Okita 1-2, carving the outside corner, but loses him and Okita walks. Faildo, the catcher, jogs to chat with his pitcher after Varner works the count to 2-0. Varner pops out to shortstop and Kalehuawehe flies out to right, ending the inning. MILILANI 1, BALDWIN 1.
Bot 7: Entering his second inning on the mound, Constantino got Faildo to ground out after falling behind 3-1. Then he walked Pang, also on a full count. Pinch hitter Koa Konia-Rosa struck out as Constantino offered two fastballs over the plate. Kaohu flew out to right and the game goes into extra innings. BALDWIN 1, MILILANI 1.
Top 7: Winchester is done after a strong performance. Six innings, one run, seven hits, no K’s, one walk. Vance Oshiro moves from third base to the mound. Oshiro retires Dukelow on a hard grounder to third. He is up 0-2 on Yamashita, then grazes him with a pitch inside and Yamashita is on first base. Next pitch, Daniels grounds into a 6-4-3 double play. Mililani infield playing stellar of late. MILILANI 1, BALDWIN 1.
Bot 6: Baldwin P Ziegler-Namoa is done for the night after five innings on the mound. He permitted just one run on one hit, struck out three, walked three. Not bad at all for last-minute orders after the expected starter fell ill. Suehisa leads off with a line-drive single to left on a 1-2 pitch from new Baldwin P Nainoa Constantino. Oshiro sac bunt, Suehisa races to second base. Constantino uses curve balls to get ahead of Thomas 1-2. The next pitch is in the dirt and Suehisa decides to take off. The throw is there from Kalehuawehe, but the tag misses and Suehisa is safe at third. Thomas swings and misses on the next pitch, two outs. Now it’s an intentional walk to Winchester, runners at the corners. Tanner Moran is now the courtesy runner at first base, replacing Winchester, the pitcher. The No. 5 batter in the lineup, Inouye, steps in. Two curve balls, two strikes. One more curve, Inouye misses, and the Bears escape damage. BALDWIN 1, MILILANI 1.
Top 6: Varner leads off with a single, but long fly balls by Kalehuawehe and Ziegler-Namoa are snagged by the Trojans. MILILANI 1, BALDWIN 1.
Bot 5: Golden opportunity for Mililani in the fifth. Faildo walks, forced out on Jayton Pang’s bunt 1-6. Waika Fukuda ground ball, throwing error E5 by Haole. Runners at the corners. Then it’s a ball to Micah Kaohu and the courtesy runner, Brant Ibara, is tagged out at home plate. WOW. Someone missed a signal? Then Kaohu singles to right and here comes Fukuda barreling around third base. RF Baba Warner’s throw is true, one hop to catcher Kalehuawehe, who tags out Fukuda on a bang-bang play. WOWWOW. Baldwin escapes damage. BALDWIN 1, MILILANI 1.
Top 5: Mochi Dukelow leads off with a single to right, Yamashita sac bunt and Danelle Daniels singles to center. Runners at the corners. Haku Dudoit sees the third baseman in and the first baseman back. He bunts on a 2-1 pitch, right back to Winchester, who gloves it and tosses it from the glove hand to the catcher, Faildo, who tags Dukelow out in front of home plate. Huge play for each side. Two down. Okita grounds into a forceout at second base. Mililani escapes. MILILANI 1, BALDWIN 1.
Bot 4: The Trojans have a promising start to the fourth when JR Suehisa and Vance Oshiro walk. Thomas’ sac bunt attempt is too strong, and Suehisa is out at third on the fielder’s choice, 1-5. With Winchester at the plate, Oshiro stumbles as he leans strongly toward third base, and Baldwin C Kalehuawehe tries to peg him off second base, but Oshiro races from no-man’s land to third base for a steal and he is safe. Winchester can take destiny into his hands. Down 0-2, works the count to 2-2, then Winchester drives a ball toward the left-field line for a sacrifice fly. Oshiro races home from third base for the Mililani’s first run. Appeal by Baldwin, umpire says Oshiro did not leave the bag too early. Inouye flies out for the third out. MILILANI 1, BALDWIN 1.
Top 4: Kalehuawehe singles to left, forced out at second on a ground ball by Haole. Haole advances to second on a balk, but Ziegler-Namoa grounds out for the third out.
End 3: Both teams got 1-2-3 in the third. Ziegler-Namoa racks up two K’s and now has three.
Bot 2: Winchester leads off and reaches base on an E6, but Taylor Inouye grounds into a 4-6-3 double play. Ziegler-Namoa then strikes out Hunter Faildo to end the inning. BALDWIN 1, MILILANI 0.
Top 2: Kaipo Haole retired on a ground ball to the mound, but Trojans first baseman Thomas tweaks his ankle after stretching his 6-foot-5 frame to receive the ball. Ziegler-Namoa reaches base on a single, then races around second to third base on a throwing error by the catcher, Falido, on a pickoff attempt. Mochi Dukelow then singles deep in the hole at shortstop, scoring Ziegler-Namoa, and Dukelow advances to second on a throwing error by the SS. BALDWIN 1, MILILANI 0.
Bot 1: 1-2-3 inning for Ziegler-Namoa, who gets a lift from second baseman Adam Yamashita. He dove on a grounder up the middle by Ethan Thomas and got the throw to first to nab Thomas by a split-second.
Top 1: Haku Dudoit leads off with a walk, but gets picked off 1-3-6. Reyn Okita follows with a single to right, moves on to second on a Baba Varner groundout, and goes to third base on a wild pitch. Cade Kaleuawehe then grounds out to short, ending the inning.
Baldwin (23-1) vs. Mililani (18-6)
> Roy Meinen, the winner of the state final last season, is a late scratch due to a stomach virus, which means Ben Ziegler-Namoa gets the start for the Bears. Kaiwi Winchester is the starter for Mililani. This is a matchup of left-handers.
> Baldwin is the defending state champion and top seed. They have been a No. 1 team in the Top 10 all season long.
> Mililani is the OIA champion and fourth seed. The Trojans are ranked No. 6 statewide.
> Baldwin and Mililani have not met this season.
Notes: Mililani ousted Kamehameha in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Though Kamehameha is unseeded, they finished ILH play strong and are ranked No. 3 in the Top 10. Jason Shiigi fired a shutout for Mililani in the win.
Final: Punahou 10, Hilo 2
New pitcher Shiya Matsushita retires the Vikings 1-2-3 and the Buffanblu are in the championship game.
Bot 6: The Buffanblu tacked on a run in the sixth. Eldredge walked, Nishimura reached base on another error at second base, Pinch hitter Ethan Nagamine doubled to the left-field corner, scoring Eldredge from second. Hirano followed with a single that was snagged by new second baseman Micah Freeman, who fired the ball home and catcher Cabreira tagged Nagamine out at the plate. PUNAHOU 10, HILO 2.
Top 6: HIrano socks a one-out double to left off the glove of the third baseman, then scores on a triple to right-center by Harrison. That’s Harrison’s second triple today. Tsukada walks, and pinch hitter Patrick Munley’s fielder’s choice grounder allows Harrison to score from third. PUNAHOU 9, HILO 2.
Bot 5: One out, Cabreira triples to the right-field corner. Ahuna walks, steals second base and Cabreira scores easily on the throw to second. That was strangely easy. Then Gabonia triples to the right-field corner, scoring Ahuna. Urbanozo-Moses strikes out and Anthony flies out to end the inning. PUNAHOU 7, HILO 2.
Top 5: The roof caves in for Hilo as Punahou cashes in on three errors to score four runs. After Harrison grounds out, Tsukada, Aaron Tom and Morihara all reach base on errors by second baseman Xaige Lancaster, a freshman. Murashige then belts an 0-1 pitch deep to left for a grand slam. PUNAHOU 7, HILO 0.
End 4: Nishimura walks and is stranded as Punahou goes scoreless against Wilson, who has found his rhythm. Hilo gets a boost with a double to left by Paul Anthony with one out, but Xaige Lancaster flies out to center and Micah Freeman flies out to right, ending the opportunity. PUNAHOU 3, HILO 0.
Bot 3: Ryan Cabreira walks with one out, a good battle that went to a full count. After advancing to second base on a Maui Ahuna groundout, Carter strikes out Ocean Gabonia to end the threat.
Top 3: Tsukada leads off with a triple to deep right-center, and Murashige delivers a two-out chopper over the third baseman for a single, Tsukada scores.
End 2: The Buffanblu are in action. Kade Morihara single, Makana Murashige sac, Koa Eldredge infield single. Runners at the corners, Matt Nishimura sac bunt scores Morihara from third, ruled a fielder’s choice. It’s one of those in-between plays from a scorekeeper’s point of view. Kirk Terada-Herzer is hit by pitch, bases loaded. Wilson then gets Hirano on a fly ball to left and Harrison on a grounder forceout at second. PUNAHOU 2, HILO 0.
Bot 1: Hilo gets runners to third and second with one out, but Punahou P Landon Carter whiffs Dayson Urbanozo-Moses and Paul Anthony grounds out to end the inning. PUNAHOU 1, HILO 0.
Top 1: One-out triple to left by Kalae Harrison, and Jake Tsukada follows with a line-drive single to right. PUNAHOU 1, HILO 0.
Punahou (23-5-1) vs. Hilo (12-3)
> Landon Carter vs. Logan Wilson
> Punahou is the ILH champion and second seed. They are also ranked No. 2 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10.
> Hilo is the BIIF champion and third seed and ranked No. 8 in the poll.
> The Buffanblu and Vikings have not played this season.
Notes: Punahou went with Matt McConnell on Thursday and the senior went the distance in a 4-1 win over Kaiser. All arrows point to Landon Carter as tonight’s starting pitcher, especially with the methodology of Coach Keenan Sue and his staff.
* * *
The first two days of the state baseball tournament have been compelling. For the first time since 1990, all four seeded (league champion) teams advanced out of the quarterfinal round. Day 3 brings a very intriguing semifinal round: second-seeded Punahou against third-seeded Hilo, and top seed Baldwin against fourth-seeded Mililani.
The selection committee of the HHSAA can enjoy the knowledge that their seedings match the results. Sure, over the years, it’s difficult to line both sides up when league champions are rewarded with seeds (and first-round byes) as the by-laws require. It’s also a testament to the strength of baseball tradition across the state, regardless of population pools. After all, Hilo is mid-sized school on the Big Island. Baldwin covers Wailuku district on Maui. Both have feeder programs and year-round tournaments, as well as training (Kaha Wong remains a impactful influence in Hilo with his training program).
The consolation game this morning between Campbell and Maui qualifies as a game with gravitational pull. With Ayzek Silva on the mound for the Ewa Beach Sabers, how could it not? There is a two-hour time limit on this contest between the runner-up from the OIA (Campbell) and the runner-up from the MIL (Maui). It’s a chance to see some of the pitchers who didn’t get action while championship aspirations were still alive. The winner of this game will meet Saint Louis, which defeated Castle 8-2 on Thursday morning.
Through four innings, Campbell leads Maui 3-0. Silva is working on a one-hitter.
Later consolation games: Kaiser vs. Kailua, 11 a.m. and Waiakea vs. Kamehameha, 1:30 p.m. Semifinals: Punahou vs. Hilo, 4 p.m., then Baldwin vs. Mililani, 7 p.m.
Weather today is clear blue sky and sunny, just a bit of trade winds.
UPDATE, 10:20 a.m.: Silva goes the distance in Campbell’s 3-0 win over Maui. That’s a four-hit shutout for Silva in his final high school appearance as a pitcher. The game also managed to go seven innings within the two-hour limit for consolation play.
UPDATE, 11:45 a.m.: Home plate umpire Matt Kano has been hit by a thrown bat during the third inning of the Kailua-Kaiser game. The batter had started running toward first base, flung his bat back toward the dugout — roughly 15 feet — and it hit the umpire on the side of the head. It was a fly ball toward left-center and Kano had left the plate area to track the ball when he was struck. He is being treated by trainers, has remained standing the whole time. The player apologized to Kano.
This is the second time a Kailua player has flung a bat at head level in that direction after swinging. The first time, in the Kailua-Maui game on Wednesday night, nobody got hurt. He’s now being treated here in the press box. No blood, but swelling on the right side of his head was immediate, the trainer said.
“The air conditioning in here feels good,” he said.
The game has been delayed as officials and the umpire crew determines what happens next. He fortunate it wasn’t worse, but the swelling is concerning, even though he has kept the trainers laughing. Tough ump for sure. Though the bruise is higher, by his temple, Kano said it is his jaw that is having a problem. He was scheduled to work the semifinal game tonight.
Kano will be taken to a local hospital as a precautionary measure.
UPDATE, 12:35 p.m. Kaiser over Kailua 10-0, TKO rule. Well within the two-hour time limit for consolation play. Kano and a trainer are heading to the hospital to get a full exam. He’s in good spirits, all things considered. It’s probably time for the specifics of bat-handling on the field to be put into writing, if it’s not already there in the rule book. This could have been much more severe.
UPDATE, 2:10 p.m. Waiakea leads Kamehameha 4-1 after two innings. The winner will play Kaiser on Saturday for fifth place.
UPDATE, 2:40 p.m. Kamehameha has rallied with three runs in the top of the fourth inning to tie the game at 4.
UPDATE< 3:10 p.m. The Warriors lead 5-4 going into the bottom of the sixth. Only 20 minutes left before the time limit hits.