They are the Good News Bears in every possible way.
Baldwin, state champion in two of the past three seasons, collected all 10 first-place votes to retain the No. 1 spot in the Star-Advertiser Baseball Top 10 on Monday.
While the top four teams remained status quo, St. Francis entered the Top 10 for the first time this season and second time in school history at No. 10.
The Saints (8-4-1, 6-2 ILH) matched their only other ranking ever when they were No. 10 in Week 6 last year.
The Saints have beaten two ranked foes, Mid-Pacific and Kamehameha, along the way. They will play No. 4 Punahou on Tuesday at Goeas Field in the last round-robin game of the season for the ILH’s D-I and D-II teams. After Tuesday, St. Francis and the rest of the league’s D-II teams will only play each other.
Baldwin (11-1, 3-0 MIL) had a break from game action last week and will meet King Kekaulike on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday in a three-game series at Iron Maehara Stadium in Wailuku. The Bears have been ranked No. 1 in each of the four weeks since the 2019 poll began.
Since winning the state title in 2016, the Bears have held the top spot in the Star-Advertiser rankings in 16 out of 26 weeks and have been ranked No. 1 for at least four weeks in a row three different times. Only ‘Iolani for two weeks to begin the 2018 season and Kamehameha, which was No. 1 for three weeks late into the 2017 season, have held the top spot in consecutive weeks during that span.
‘Iolani had picked up a first-place vote in each of the last two weeks, but lost its first game of the regular season to Mid-Pacific 11-5 on Saturday, ending an eight-game win streak in ILH play. The Raiders still got the benefit of the doubt from the panel of coaches and media, and remain at No. 2 statewide. ‘Iolani (18-4, 8-1 ILH) will travel to Mid-Pacific for a quick rematch on Tuesday and then to Goeas Field on Thursday to battle Punahou.
No. 3 Waiakea crept closer and is just two points behind ‘Iolani. The Warriors continued their dominance of the BIIF with wins over Keaau, Ka‘u and Konawaena by a combined score of 49-8 last week. Waiakea (12-1, 7-0) will host rival Hilo on Tuesday.
Fourth-ranked Punahou posted wins over Maryknoll and Hanalani last week, sandwiching a 7-2 loss at ‘Iolani. The Buffanblu (15-2-1, 7-1 ILH) are 6-2 against Top 10 competition, losing only to ‘Iolani (twice).
The Buffanblu have an intense week of games with St. Francis on Tuesday at Goeas Field, and then ‘Iolani on Thursday at the same site. Punahou closes the week with a game against Maryknoll on Saturday at Ala Wai Field.
Saint Louis (12-4, 7-2 ILH) inched up a notch to No. 5 for its highest ranking since ending the 2017 season at No. 3. Since losing to Punahou on Mar. 12, the Crusaders have caught their stride with a five-game win streak, including wins over Damien, Pac-Five and Kamehameha last week. The Crusaders will face Maryknoll at Ala Wai on Tuesday, then Kamehameha on Thursday and Pac-Five on Saturday at Central Oahu Regional Park.
No. 6 Campbell (10-1-1, 4-1 OIA West) moved ahead of No. 7 Mililani (8-5, 4-1 OIA West) after a 4-2 win on Saturday night at Les Murakami Stadium. The Sabers got 10 strikeouts from Ayzek Silva to move into a first-place tie with the Trojans in the OIA West.
Kamehameha-Hawaii (8-0 BIIF) is at No. 8 as it continues its march through league play and Kailua (6-5-2, 4-1 OIA East) is at No. 9 after wins over Moanalua and Kalani. The Surfriders are tied for first in the OIA East with Kaiser and the two teams meet for the first time in the regular season on Wednesday at the Surfriders’ home field.
Kamehameha (9-7, 5-4 ILH) was ranked No. 8 last week, but dropped out of the Top 10. The Warriors won at Mid-Pacific, then lost to St. Francis and Saint Louis.
Also receiving votes are Mid-Pacific (seven), Kamehameha (five), Maui (three), Kaiser (two) and Aiea (one).
Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10
|Updated: Mar. 16|
|1.||Saint Louis (6)||94|