Free bases given up doomed second-seeded Kailua on Thursday in a 3-1 state quarterfinal baseball loss to Waiakea.
More specifically, it was problems with the pitch-receive part of the game. In the scorebook, these types of miscues are called wild pitches or passed balls and there can be subtle differences between the two. They only come into play when a runner advances and the decision in the eye of the beholder/official scorekeeper. One is when the pitcher throws a ball far out of the strike zone or in the dirt. The other is when a catcher lets a pitch get through that with regular effort should have been caught or blocked.
It’s a common part of the game at all levels, but if it becomes too common, like it did with the Surfriders (13-3, No. 2 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10) on Thursday, then your team faces certain peril.
Take the first and fourth innings as examples. In the first, Waiakea leadoff batter Casey Yamauchi walked and then took two free bases on what was officially scored wild pitches by left-hander Joey Cantillo. Both, however, could easily have been scored passed balls. One was low and one was far inside.
Yamauchi came home from third for a 1-0 lead on Nathan Minami‘s single — a run that could have been avoided.
In the fourth, the Warriors’ Jacob Igawa led off by reaching on an error. And then, boom, boom, boom, he took second on a passed ball and third and home for a 2-0 lead on two wild pitches. At least that’s what the official scorer ruled. The last one was a high pitch that was in catcher Jalen Ah Yat‘s glove and rolled out toward the backstop — another run that could have been avoided.
So now the Surfriders are out of the championship bracket, despite Cantillo’s otherwise solid pitching performance. The team’s ace gave up four hits and struck out six in 6 1/3 innings, and only one of the three runs was earned.
Cantillo doesn’t blame the wild pitches or the passed balls.
“That’s baseball,” he said. “Stuff like that’s going to happen. At the end of the day, that’s not why we lost. We’re not going to blame it on that. We didn’t come back from that.”
Makoa Andres, the Waiakea starter, was just as effective on the hill. He went 6-plus innings and also struck out six.
“I just want to thank my team and my backup pitcher Casey Yamauchi,” Andres said. “He was very up today.”
Yamauchi came in with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh and earned the save.
Kailua’s only run came home in that last inning, however, on Andres’ errant throw from third base into right field on a would-be game-ending double-play ground ball. Thankfully for Andres, he got another shot at it with another ground ball that he did indeed turn into a game-ending, 5-4-3 double play.
Unseeded and BIIF runner-up Waiakea (16-2, No. 7 in the Star-Advertiser poll) moves on to the semifinals Friday against either MIL champion Baldwin or ILH second-place Kamehameha. The Warriors are looking for their first title since 2012.