Coach Thomas Perkins gave this advice to his second-ranked Kamehameha Warriors after Friday’s loss to Punahou: “Today’s done. We’re just gonna come back and be who we are and play our game.”
It’s a huge day Saturday in Interscholastic League of Honolulu baseball. A regular-season champion could be determined, but if both Kamehameha (11-3) and Saint Louis (11-3) win, another game would be held next week to determine that title and a spot in the state tournament.
But if one team wins and one team loses Saturday, the team that wins gets that state berth. Another spot in the state tourney will be up for grabs next week, too, when all league teams play in the postseason tournament.
The two important Saturday games at Ala Wai Community Park begin at noon, when the fourth-ranked Crusaders meet the Buffanblu (8-5). Then at 3 p.m., ninth-ranked Mid-Pacific (6-8) takes on the Warriors.
Even though they aren’t front-runners, the Owls and the seventh-ranked Buffanblu have a lot to prove today. Not only can they do damage to their opponent’s chances, they can also send a signal that they are serious customers heading into that postseason tournament.
After the 7-3 win over Kamehameha on Friday at Ala Wai, Buffanblu coach Keenan Sue said, “Mission accomplished.”
He was referring to two topics.
“We worked on some specific things that we felt our starters had to bone up on (including a more comprehensive approach at the plate) and we got some guys in the game who haven’t played much. They work hard, the come to practice every day, they do everything we ask them to to do. Sometimes because the league is so competitive, it’s hard to get guys in. I feel grateful to have done that today.”
Six Puhahou position players who didn’t start Friday came in as either a pinch hitter or a defensive replacement — Kirk Terada-Herzer, Jeric Nomura, Ola Aina, Wyatt Hiyane, Michael Viola and Austin Horio.
Sue was happy to see his boys get solid wood on the pitches from Kamehameha’s Hunter Breault, who is being scouted by major league teams.
One key swing of the bat came by Andrew Matsueda in the first inning. His long drive to center field appeared to be run down and caught by the Warriors’ Nakea Hanohano, but the ball fell out of his glove and two key runs scored in what turned out to be a four-run inning.
“I was just glad Andrew was ready to hit and he swung,” Sue said. “With Hunter, you sort of have to guess early in the count. If you’re trying to hit a fastball and a curveball against him, you kind of have to take your medicine.”
When asked if he thought his team could be a spoiler for a second-day in a row (Kamehameha’s loss dropped the Warriors into a first-place tie with the Crusaders), he said, “We’ll see. That’s what we hope to do.”