In order for Farrington’s baseball team to make history on Saturday, it first had to defy it.
For starters, there was recent history. The Governors were going up against a Radford team that had beaten them twice earlier in the season. To make circumstances more challenging, the Rams trotted out ace Jack Dillon to start the game, who tossed a no-hitter against Farrington last year.
With the odds stacked against them, the Governors prevailed 6-4 to give the school its first ever OIA championship in baseball behind eight hits as a team and 2 2/3 shutout innings in relief from Treven Isobe.
“We just wanted to play a good game today. I was telling the guys about the history of Farrington baseball from way back when,” Farrington coach Eric Tokunaga said. “The history of the program is deep, so it kind of brings back some memories.”
The Governors will play in the state tournament in successive years for the first time since 1962-63, when John Matias was the big hitter with the only four home run game in HHSAA history.
Despite getting no-hit from Dillon before, the Governors (10-3) set the tone in the first inning with three runs, started by a leadoff triple from Chasen Castilliano.
“We wanted to be aggressive because Jack always pounds the zone. Chasen had a bad day yesterday at the plate but he was ready today so that was good,” Tokunaga said. “He got us going and we kept it going, that was the important thing. They scored runs, we came right back. We kept coming after them and that was good for us.”
The Governors went on to score one run each in the third, fifth and sixth innings, led by Kody Pilor, Cisqo Sagucio and Trey Kaawa, who had two hits each.
Dillon got tagged with the loss in a complete game effort despite just three of his six runs being earned. He struck out four with one walk, going above the 110-pitch limit with 114 pitches because he was under 110 entering his last at-bat. Offensively for the Rams (11-2), Richard Akana was the only player with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI.
“He’s a competitor. We know all about Jack. He’s a great pitcher but to me, he’s a competitor and that’s what makes him so tough,” Tokunaga said. “That’s why we knew we had to compete against him today. We just didn’t want to give in.”
Kaawa got the win for Farrington, going 4 1/3 innings with six hits, three walks and a strikeout. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the fifth, Tokunaga pulled Kaawa in favor of Isobe.
Isobe did the rest, stifling the Rams with a lack of velocity and an approach that focused more toward throwing strikes and breaking balls.
“Honestly, I was just trying to pitch and get them to hit to my defense and get outs. I couldn’t try my hardest at the time because I have back problems right now, my back is sore,” Isobe said. “I knew that I had to fight through the pain and throw the ball, and get my defense to work on getting the outs.
“I wanted to get it around the plate but not down the middle where they could easily rip it. Mainly focusing on the inside on my off-speed.”
Isobe surrendered just one walk and one hit to lock down the save.
“Treven has been our go-to guy this year, especially the latter half of the year,” Tokunaga said. “With the game on the line, I felt confident with him on the mound.”
Despite no previous OIA titles heading into Saturday, Farrington does have a state championship under its belt, winning in 1963 when it was a member of the ILH and counted Gordon Shimizu and Glen Cermak as its aces.
Tokunaga hopes that history can repeat itself in that sense when his team takes the field again starting on May 9, the first day of this year’s HHSAA Division II championships.
“We gotta keep moving forward, just take it one game at a time and keep practicing hard, working at it and stay focused on the big picture,” he said.