Silva’s sterling effort boosts Campbell into OIA West lead

Campbell starting pitcher Ayzek Silva delivers a pitch in the first inning of the Mililani vs Campbell. Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser

Instead of tiring, Ayzek Silva did what he has often done in his young career.

The 6-foot-1 southpaw grew stronger as the game went along. In fact, in the course of six shutout innings during Campbell’s 2-0 win over Mililani, the junior got better with each inning. After the third inning, the former closer faced just nine batters in the next three innings before departing. He probably could’ve finished the game, which was his role as a freshman.

Silva finished with 92 pitches, including nearly 60 for strikes. He did so well, the Sabers opted to keep him in the game beyond the planned limit.

“I was supposed to go 75 or 80 pitches,” said Silva, who struck out nine and walked three. “I didn’t know if they were going to pitch me past that.”

Darien Robinson closed in the seventh, posting a strikeout and walking one for a save. The mastery of Silva, though, was a sight to behold. Closer. Middle relief. Starter. It doesn’t seem to faze him. In fact, after his team got him a one-run lead in the first inning, he was more than stoked.

“The run support gets me more hyped to get back on the field and pitch,” he said.

The visiting Trojans dropped to 5-2 in the wild West of the OIA, now trailing Campbell (6-1). They had their opportunities early. Leadoff hitter Shea Yamaguchi (2-for-3) was picked off first base in the top of the first, one of two Trojans picked by the crafty Silva.

Campbell junior pitcher Ayzek Silva. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser (Mar. 26, 2018)

In the second, an error gave the Trojans a chance to score, but Silva whiffed two batters to strand a runner at second base.

In the third, Yamaguchi hustled to beat out an infield single with one out, and Korrey Siracusa walked with two outs. Again, Silva came through, striking out Ethan Thomas on a heater to end the threat. From there, Silva was smooth and untouchable.

It was a performance almost as skilled the one by Sabers coach Rory Pico, who arrived at his field on Sunday to see virtually all the infield flooded by the weekend storm. Pico and his staff used a swimming pool pump to suck all that H2O out.

“Here, it rarely rains. If it does, that means the rest of the island is pouring,” Pico said. “We’ve learned. We used to have a bucket system, using sponges. If you leave it to Mother Nature, it will take three days.”

Campbell didn’t have three days, and with no natural or man-made drainage system, the staff used its resources wisely. By Monday morning, they added sand, cinder and dirt to the playing surface. By 3 p.m. game time — the contest began one hour later probably to help the field come back to life — the Sabers’ field was pristine as ever.

That savvy and effort has already paid off with a win over the tough Trojans, and Campbell will host Leilehua on Wednesday in another toss-up battle. Then comes a road game at Pearl City on Friday. The senior prom is on Saturday, which meant Campbell asked for date adjustment.

Three games in five days is a major task for many pitching staffs. The Sabers have depth with Silva, Jamin Kalaola and Dayton Robinson. That gives Pico plenty of confidence, but his team won’t think too far down the road.

“We’ve learned through the years to look ahead only one game,” Pico said.

Mililani has plenty of veteran perspective with longtime coach Mark Hirayama.

“For us, it’s about getting better. It’s just one game,” he said. “We’ve just got to try and make the OIA tournament first.”

Mililani will host Pearl City on Wednesday, then doesn’t play another game until Apr. 4. The Trojans and Chargers are now tied for second place at 5-2.


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