So much for ILH baseball being a two-team race.
At the same time Mid-Pacific handed No. 2 ‘Iolani its first loss of the season, No. 6 Saint Louis scored a big win over No. 8 Kamehameha Ala Wai Field.
Junior right-hander Richie Vidal picked up the victory after facing the minimum over 3 2/3 innings of relief in a 3-1 win over the Warriors to pull the Crusaders (7-2) within a game of ‘Iolani (8-1) in the league standings. Its the first win in a row for Saint Louis, which started the regular season 2-2.
“They’re a good team,” Vidal said of Kamehameha, which dropped 5-4. “I mean I’ve faced most of these boys all my life (in youth leagues) and kind of know how to go at them.”
In his previous appearance against the Warriors, Vidal threw a no-hitter in last season’s ILH tournament.
“He’s our most experienced varsity guy, so it’s a huge, huge job to get us through those innings,” said Saint Louis coach George Gusman.
On Saturday, Vidal inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third and got a strikeout and line out to first baseman Caleb Lomavita to end the threat.
“The coach told me to be ready and that’s what I have to do for this team,” Vidal said. “The mind-set is to do my job day in and day out.”
Vidal, who struck out four, allowed a single to Josiah Pekelo in the fifth, but picked him off first base. In the sixth, Vidal allowed a lead-off walk to Javyn Pimental, but recorded a strikeout and got Jonny Shimabukuro to line out to Lomavita, who stepped on the first-base bag to retire the side.
Kamehameha made things interesting in the seventh after Vincente Venenciano hit a lead-off triple against JT Navyac and pinch hitter Kala Burnett drew a walk. Navyac then struck out the next three batters to record the save.
“He’s a quality guy, a very high-skilled player and we’re trying to use him as a starter, but he pitches in the situations where we need him,” Gusman said of Navyac.
Saint Louis will try to keep its winning streak going against Maryknoll on Tuesday before playing the Warriors again on Thursday. Kamehameha will play Pac-Five on Tuesday.