The main event is here, and this time it is a unification bout.
ILH champion Punahou and OIA king Mililani clash in the state Division I baseball championship today at 6 p.m. at Iron Maehara Stadium, the first time the champions of the two leagues have met in the final game since Campbell beat Mid-Pacific in 2015.
It is the 22nd time Oahu’s league champions have met in the state final with the private schools enjoying a 14-8 edge going back to the first one when Punahou beat Radford in 1961. The Buffanblu have won five of eight such matchups, and haven’t fallen to the OIA champion since losing to Aiea in 1973.
Overall, Punahou has 13 state titles to Mililani’s none. The Trojans made the big game in 2013 and 2104 but fell to ILH schools both times.
As much as players on both teams are chasing the W, individual performances are remembered just as much or more like Campbell catcher Tryzen Patricio‘s walkoff single in 2015, Marcus Doi‘s clutch hit for Mid-Pacific in 2013 and Quintin Torres-Costa and Kodi Medeiros combining on a no-hitter for Waiakea in 2012.
Among other memorable offensive performances in the big game include Keahi Rawlins‘ home run at Rainbow Stadium in 1999 for Molokai, Franz Yuen of Punahou with two dingers at Aloha Stadium in 1989 (one of them inside the park) and a 370-foot blast out of Honolulu Stadium by Tom Williams of Punahou in 1968.
Glenn Goya of Punahou holds a state championship game record that will almost definitely never be broken, throwing a perfect game over nine innings with eight strikeouts to lead Punahou over Saint Louis in 1972. There were no pitch count limits back then, and high school baseball dropped from nine to seven innings in 1990.
‘Iolani’s Nolan Arakawa was the last pitcher to throw a shutout over nine innings, doing so for ‘Iolani in 1975. Pono Anderson of 2014 Saint Louis (five innings) and Reece Kiriu of 2008 Punahou and Jared Pate of the 2004 Buffanblu threw seven-inning shutouts.
Before Goya’s perfect game, Charlie Sedillo of 1969 Kailua, Greg Taylor of 1964 Punahou, Gordon Shimizu of 1963 Farrington and Norbie Mendes of 1961 Punahou all threw nine-inning shutouts.
UH legend Derek Tatsuno of Aiea closed his prep career with a victory over McKinley in the 1976 game.
But the most memorable state championship pitcher never threw a shutout in the deciding game. Baldwin’s Glenn Oura held Saint Louis to three runs over 11 innings before running out of gas in the ninth and giving way to Rodney Sekimoto who closed out the contest after Oura allowed four runs in the 12th while trying to protect a 12-3 lead.
Oura, dubbed the Iron Man, pitched 29 of his team’s possible 30 innings in the Bears run to the title and brought on a 15-inning limit rule for pitchers beginning with the 1961 tournament.
In 1959 and 1960, Oura threw 50 1/3 of his team’s 54 innings played. His two-year totals were a 6-0 record, 1.07 ERA with 20 hits and 25 walks to go with 29 strikeouts.
There are plenty of other memories over the 60 years of state championship games, and more are expected to be made tonight.