With four sophomores in its starting lineup and pitching ace Kahi Bisho not scheduled to pitch on Tuesday, No. 7 Punahou went out anyway and played like the more polished team in a 5-1 victory over No. 5 Saint Louis in an ILH baseball game at Goeas Field.
Second baseman Kalae Harrison, one of those sophomores for the Buffanblu (2-1), ripped two line-drive doubles to right-center and scored twice to lead the Punahou offense.
Saint Louis (1-2) made three errors and had multiple baserunning mistakes that Punahou was more than happy to take advantage of.
“They had a couple of heartbreaks for them and we took advantage where we needed to and sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” Punahou coach Keenan Sue said. “Good things happens when you swing the bat and hit the ball hard.”
Leadoff hitter Cody Hirano was 2-for-4 with two runs scored to support starter Kyle Uemura, who held the Crusaders to one run on five hits in five innings. Matt McConnell gave up a meaningless hit in two shutout innings of relief to end it.
Saint Louis had a runner picked off at third base in the fourth inning with nobody out and then got caught off a base again in the fifth inning with a runner in scoring position and nobody out.
Back-to-back singles by Cole Kashimoto and Charles Lopez put runners on first and second with nobody out, but Punahou shortstop Kyson Donahue tagged out Kashimoto at second after Kashimoto came off the bag.
The Buffanblu faked a throw back in to Uemura on the mound to get ready for the next batter and Donahue waited until Kashimoto stepped off the bag to make the tag for the first out.
“That was just Kyson being a ballplayer,” Sue said. “I didn’t even see it to be honest so unfortunately I can’t take credit for that. It’s been done to us before and we don’t practice it, but that was definitely a momentum swing.”
The Crusaders managed a run on Stanley McKenzie‘s sacrifice fly, but the damage was limited.
Punahou then scored three times in the bottom of the inning for a 5-1 lead.
“It’s just amazing how we shot ourselves in the foot today,” Saint Louis coach George Gusman said. “We got quite a few guys in today, even if it’s one at-bat, and sent a message.”
The Crusaders started three returnees from last year’s team that won the ILH title.
Uemura struck out two and walked three but managed to strand seven Saint Louis runners on base. He’s the No. 2 for Punahou behind Bisho, a Kansas signee, who will start Friday against Maryknoll.
“Great starting pitchers are able to put together a decent performance even if they’re struggling and Kyle didn’t have his best performance, but he battled and and displayed that,” Sue said.
Lopez finished 2-for-3 with a double and run scored for Saint Louis, which gets league-leading Mid-Pacific next on Friday at Goeas Field.