Sam Prentice called it “redemption.”
Just over a year ago, a loss to Moanalua in the consolation semifinals ended the Chargers’ season in the OIA playoffs.
On Thursday, Prentice and fellow Pearl City senior Cade Halemanu helped power the Chargers to a 4-1 home win over Na Menehune to advance to the OIA semifinals and secure a return to the Division I baseball state tournament.
Halemanu held Moanalua to three singles and struck out 10 in a complete-game victory. He also drove in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth after Prentice’s leadoff triple. They followed the same script in the sixth when Prentice tripled to deep center and Halemanu followed with his second double in as many at bats.
Pearl City was the fourth seed in the OIA West last year and lost to Kailua in the quarterfinals to set up a meeting with Moanalua in the fifth-place bracket. Na Menehune left Pearl City with a 5-2 win to keep its season alive while sending the Chargers to an early finish.
“Things wouldn’t fall in for us,” Prentice recalled. “But we worked hard in the offseason.”
As the OIA West’s second seed this season, the Chargers had a bye on Wednesday while Moanalua eliminated Kapolei. In Thursday’s playoff rematch, Halemanu kept Na Menehune off balance after surrendering a line-drive single to Cody Isa to open the game. But the Chargers left seven runners on base, four in scoring position, through four innings and found themselves tied 1-1 going into the bottom of the fifth.
Moanalua used five pitchers in the game, each throwing an array of offspeed offerings. Prentice singled in his first at bat but was reitred on a foul popup in the third.
After Moanalua scratched out the tying run in the top of the fifth, Prentice launched a towering fly well beyond Moanalua right fielder Andrew Oasay and sprinted into third. Halemanu followed with a double to left to break the tie.
“I wanted to cut down the swing just a little bit and be unselfish and just help the team and find a way and it just works out that way,” Prentice said.
With one out in the sixth, Prentice sent a drive to center that rolled to the backstop of the softball field. Halemanu again drilled a double to left to give himself a three-run cushion going into the seventh.
He recorded his ninth and 10th strikeouts then ended the game with a grounder to second.
“Total team effort,” Halemanu said. “Everybody chipping in their part.”
Pearl City will next face two-time defending OIA champion Kailua in Friday’s 4 p.m. semifinal game scheduled to be played at Les Murakami Stadium pending tonight’s fire. Kailua advanced with a win over Leilehua and owns the longest active streak of consecutive state tournament appearances at 14.
PlayoffsUpdated: Apr. 21
|4/18||(E4) Kaiser||(W5) Aiea||Kais, 8-3|
|4/18||(W3) Mililani||(E6) Roosevelt||Mil, 4-0|
|4/18||(E3) Moanalua||(W6) Kapolei||Moan, 7-2|
|4/18||(W4) Leilehua||(E5) Castle||Lei, 6-5 (8)|
|4/19||(W1) Campbell||Kaiser||Camp, 2-1 (8)|
|4/19||(E2) Kalani||Mililani||Mil, 12-1 (5)|
|4/19||(W2) Pearl City||Moanalua||PC, 4-1|
|4/19||(E1) Kailua||Leilehua||Kail, 10-1|
|4/20||Kalani||Kaiser||Kaln, 4-3 (13)|
|4/20||Kailua**||Pearl City||Kail, 1-0|
|4/21||Campbell||Pearl City||Camp, 3-0|
|4/19||Farrington*||McKinley||Far, 11-1 (5)|
|* — @ DeSa Field|
|** — @ Les Murakami Stadium|