Each of the last two years have ended with neighbor-island teams in the state final and in the top two spots of the final Honolulu Star-Advertiser Baseball Top 10.
So it should be no surprise that this week’s Top 10 features the same two teams — Baldwin and Waiakea — who met in the 2018 state final.
Yet it is, kind of. Although teams from Maui and the Big Island have dominated the state tournament in recent years, this is the first time that neighbor-island teams have held the top two spots in the Star-Advertiser rankings in the regular season.
Defending state champion Baldwin was not unanimous but easily held on to its top spot in the rankings for the sixth straight week dating back to last year. The Bears (14-1, 6-0 MIL) swept King Kekaulike in a three-game series by a combined score of 31-2.
Baldwin has scored at least 11 runs in five of its six league games and given up just five runs total.
Waiakea (14-1, 9-0 BIIF) has outscored its opponents 116-21 in nine league games, including an 8-3 win over Hilo on Tuesday. The Warriors have made it to the D-I state final each of the last two years but lost both times.
Punahou (18-2-1, 10-1 ILH) has taken over sole possession of first place in the ILH with an impressive week. The Buffanblu beat No. 10 St. Francis 4-1 and two days later knocked off then-No. 2 ‘Iolani 5-4 in 10 innings. With a 6-0 shutout of Maryknoll on Sunday, Punahou climbed a spot to No. 3 to match its highest ranking in the poll since the first rankings of the 2011 season, when it was second.
The Buffanblu received one first-place vote this week.
Saint Louis (15-4, 10-2 ILH) has won eight in a row to jump to No. 4 in the rankings matching its highest mark since ending the 2017 season ranked third. The Crusaders are within a half-game of the Buffanblu for first place in the league with huge games at Mid-Pacific on Thursday and against the Buffanblu on Saturday.
‘Iolani (18-6, 8-3) dropped three spots to No. 5 to fall out of the second spot for the first time this year. The Raiders have lost three in a row, including two one-run games that went 10 innings.
No. 6 Campbell (12-1-1, 6-1 OIA West) and No. 7 Mililani (10-5, 6-1 OIA West) didn’t move in the rankings with Mid-Pacific (15-7-2, 7-5 ILH) returning to the rankings at No. 8 after a two-week hiatus.
The Owls beat ‘Iolani twice to hand the Raiders their first two losses of the season but ended the week losing 8-7 in 15 innings to Kamehameha.
Kamehameha-Hawaii (9-0 BIIF) dropped a spot to No. 9 and St. Francis (9-5-1, 7-3 ILH) and Maui (5-1 MIL) tied for the No. 10 spot.
Also receiving votes: Kamehameha 6, Aiea 3, Kailua 3, Kaiser 3 and Kamehameha-Maui 1.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10
|Updated: Jan. 23|
|4.||Saint Louis (1)||98|