Prepared Kailua team knocks off Mid-Pacific

Kailua celebrated after Kalua Neves blasted a two-run homer to stamp the Surfriders' 6-1 win over No. 2 seed Mid-Pacific in the quarterfinals of the state tournament. Photo by Jerry Campany/Star-Advertiser.

Kailua had a pretty good idea of what to expect if it got past Leilehua and into the quarterfinals of the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA State Baseball Championships against ILH champion and No. 2 seed Mid-Pacific.

The Surfriders used some of their time during the 17 days between the OIA and state tournament hitting against coaches that simulated the quirky side-arm motion of Mid-Pacific’s Shion Matsushita.

That work seemed to pay off over the final two innings of Wednesday night’s tilt as the Surfriders broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the sixth inning and added three more in the top of the seventh inning to advance with a 6-1 victory.

Jalen Ah Yat went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and Dylan Kurahashi-Choy Foo broke the tie with an RBI single in the sixth inning.

The big blast that sent a sea of blue above the visitors dugout as Les Murakami Stadium into a tizzy came in the seventh inning when Kalua Neves hammered a pitch over the wall in right field for a two-run blast to put Kailua ahead 6-1.

“That’s how our team is. If we’re not explosive from the first inning we’re eventually going to put together some runs,” Neves said. “I was just looking for something up in the zone — something I could definitely pull.”

Neves said a couple of Kailua coaches, including head coach Corey Ishigo, threw side-arm to the team in practice trying to mimic the same delivery and release point so the Kailua hitters could get a feel of what to expect.

For five innings, Matsushita had the upper hand, allowing just three hits and one run.

Ah Yat, the one guy who Matsushita struggled with the entire game, started Kailua’s run with a one-out single and the Surfriders had runners on first and second when Kurahashi-Choy Foo ripped a single to left-center to drive in courtesy runner Shane Kalawaia for a 2-1 lead.

Bryson Ballesteros blooped a single behind the bag at first to load the bases and a Dakota Kadooka groundout brought in the third Kailua run.

“I felt like we were getting used to (Matsushita) and then at the end we were able to put it together,” Kurahashi-Choy Foo said.

Ah Yat added a two-out RBI single to right in the seventh inning for a 4-1 lead before Neves’ blast.

It was the first home run hit in a winners bracket state tournament game at Les Murakami Stadium since Campbell’s Dewayne Sprinkel in the 2015 state final.

“Kalua hits bombs during BP,” said Kailua starter Stone Parker, who threw a three-hitter.

Parker, a 6-foot-5 right-hander who signed to pitch for Kansas next year, let up a run in the third inning after walking two batters.

Jacob Yoshino tagged Parker for an RBI single, but the right-hander shut the door the rest of the game, retiring 14 of the next 15 batters to end it.

“I just tried to stay settled and grounded and focused on pitching,” Parker said. “This whole year we’ve been working hard and doing what we have to do. We deserve (this).”

The Surfriders will face BIIF champion and No. 3 seed Waiakea in their first semifinal game since 2014 on Thursday at 4 p.m.

at Les Murakami Stadium
Kailua (14-3) 001 002 3 — 6 9 1
Mid-Pacific (15-4) 001 000 0 — 1 3 0
Stone Parker and Kalua Neves. Shion Matsushita, Shane Adams (7) and Kyle Layugan. W—Parker. L—Matsushita.
Leading hitters—Kail: Jalen Ah Yat 3-3, 2 RBIs; Neves 1-2, 2-run HR; Kyle Layugan 2b.

Kailua’s Stone Parker retired 14 of the final 15 batters he faced and tossed a three-hitter to lead the Surfriders over Mid-Pacific. Photo by Jerry Campany/Star-Advertiser.
Kailua’s Dylan Kurahashi-Choy Foo broke a 1-1 tie with an RBI single in the sixth inning. Photo by Jerry Campany/Star-Advertiser.
Kailua’s Kalua Neves chased down the runner in front of him after blasting a two-run homer for a 6-1 lead. Photo by Jerry Campany/Star-Advertiser.
Kailua’s Dakota Kadooka got caught in a rundown between second and third and was eventually tagged out by Mid-Pacific catcher Kyle Layugan in the second inning. Photo by Jerry Campany/Star-Advertiser.
Kailua’s Nicholas Faulkner celebrated after scoring on Jalen Ah Yat’s RBI single in the seventh inning for a 4-1 lead. Photo by Jerry Campany/Star-Advertiser.


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