Another game, another 15 base hits for the ‘Iolani hit squad.
The Raiders made it another juggernaut afternoon, getting a 4-for-4, two-home run effort from center fielder Shane Sasaki en route to a 12-6 win over No. 10 Kamehameha on Tuesday at ‘Iolani field.
‘Iolani is now 4-0 in ILH play, leading Punahou (3-0) and the rest of the pack. Kamehameha’s six runs on nine hits is more than respectable. The Raiders just didn’t make any mental errors. And boy, they keep hitting the ball. In four ILH games, they have scored 44 runs. In 17 total games, the Raiders have scored at least six runs 15 times.
“They’re in the weight room at 5:30 (in the morning) almost every day,” ‘Iolani coach Kurt Miyahira said. “It’s all on them. They’re getting after it and I’m proud of them, but we’re not done yet. We have goals to accomplish and we have to go and get it.”
Sasaki had a modest performance in the Raiders’ previous game, a 14-7 win over Saint Louis. He was 1-for-4 that afternoon at Goeas Field. On that same day, catcher Micah Yonamine clubbed two home runs and drove in seven runs.
This time, ‘Iolani’s cleanup hitter, Sasaki, didn’t miss very often.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Sasaki said. “Our bats have been rolling. It’s our senior year. We’re hitting and having a lot of fun. We always pick each other up. If one person does bad, we tell next person will pick us up and he’ll do the job. Our team chemistry is very good. We never feel bad about anything. If we do mess up, we try make it back up with our bats.”
In the first inning, Sasaki’s first homer came on a 1-2 pitch from crafty, skilled Kelena Sauer after Sasaki had missed on two sharp-breaking curveballs.
“I think he was just trying to keep me off balance, trying to throw me outside curveballs and high inside (fastballs). I was just able to keep my hands in and trust my hands that they would get there,” Sasaki said.
The second homer was against new pitcher Joey Mahiai-Paleka on a full-count heater.
“It was two strikes again. I was just trying to put the ball in play, get on base. I got lucky again. I hit it good,” Sasaki said.
The Raiders did major work in the weight room in the offseason, and it hasn’t changed during the regular season. Most school mornings, they are pumping iron at 5:30 a.m.
“The whole team, all the seniors, we put in work trying to pick up as much weight as we can before the season started,” Sasaki said. “Just from last year, I gained 20 pounds. I’m 170-ish. Everybody, if you ask them from last year to this year, we all picked up weight.”
At 6 feet, he’s got room to build more power.
“My speed is my game, so I work a lot on fast-twitch muscles. It’s different for each guy. I do a lot of leg work, more reps than heavy. I do squats, RDLs, single-leg RDLs,” he said.
An RDL is a Roman dead lift.
“It works on your gluteus maximus,” he added.
The notion of a team going unbeaten in the ILH is preposterous. But the route to a championship is reasonable for a team with great defense, steady pitching and an offense like this.
“We all have it in the back of our heads. We don’t want to look too far ahead,” Sasaki said. “Our next game is on Thursday against Maryknoll, so we don’t want to look ahead of Maryknoll.”
Kamehameha got a good look at four pitchers.
“My theory is, we’ve got 26 (players), so we will use them all. Let them play,” first-year Warriors coach Daryl Kitagawa said. “If they play early, we know what they can do. You never know when your time comes.”
At ‘Iolani H.S. field
Kamehameha (7-4, 3-1 ILH) 001 041 0 — 6 9 2
‘Iolani (14-3, 4-0 ILH) 430 410 x — 12 15 0
Kelena Sauer, Joey Mahiai-Paleka (4), Tracey Young (5), Kala‘e Holt (5) and Vince Venenciano. Aaron Ujimori, Andrew Quemado (5), Joshua Fournier (6) and Micah Yonamine. W—Ujimori. L—Sauer.
Leading hitters—Kamehameha: Josiah Pekelo 1-4, double, 2 runs; Kaeden Shim 2-4, RBI, run; Javyn Pimental 2-3, BB, HR, 4 RBIs, run; Pa‘a Elarionoff 2-3, double, BB. ‘Iolani: Shayden Kubo 3-3, triple, 2 runs; Yonamine 2-4, double, RBI, 2 runs; Shane Sasaki 4-4, two HRs, double, 4 RBIs, 4 runs, SB; Ujimori 2-2, run, 2 HBP, SB; Blake Hiraki 1-4, HR, 2 RBIs, run.