A prideful baseball program, the Waiakea Warriors don’t go down easy.
Other programs around the state may get more attention, but for year-in, year-out results, Waiakea is right there with anyone.
You have to go back to 2010 the last time the Warriors didn’t make it into the state tournament. And the final finish each year is impressive, too, the best of which was the Division I state championship in 2012.
Here is a recap of those years. Pay particular attention to who the Warriors eventually lost to.
>> 2011: Seeded into the quarterfinals as the BIIF champion and lost 5-2 to eventual D-I champion Pearl City.
>> 2012: Seeded into the quarterfinals as the BIIF champion; beat Castle 5-0 in the first round, beat Pearl City 2-1 in the semifinals, and beat Baldwin 5-2 in the D-I title game.
>> 2013: Beat Leilehua 14-3 in the first round; lost 5-1 in the quarterfinals to eventual D-I champion Mid-Pacific.
>> 2014: Seeded into the quarterfinals as the BIIF champion and lost 2-0 to eventual D-I champion Saint Louis.
>> 2015: Beat Kailua 4-3 in the first round; lost 9-4 in the quarterfinals to eventual D-I runner-up Mid-Pacific.
>> 2016: Seeded into the quarterfinals as the BIIF champion and lost 4-2 to eventual D-I runner-up Pearl City.
>> 2017: Beat Moanalua 4-3 in first round; beat Kailua 3-1 in quarterfinals; will play either Baldwin or Kamehameha in the semifinals Friday.
Five years of getting knocked out by either the eventual champion or the eventual runner-up. Plus one title. Warning: Don’t take Waiakea (16-2) lightly.
“These boys believe in one team and they pick up each other,” Warriors coach Rory Inouye said after Thursday’s win. “You can see from this game. No heads were hung and we got to complete that double play. This team loves each other. Everybody is here for one goal and hopefully that’s on Saturday.”
The Warriors didn’t cave, despite facing a bases-loaded situation with Kailua at-bat and no outs in the bottom of the seventh. Starting pitcher Makoa Andres began to fade and in came Casey Yamauchi who got out of the jam with the three outs for the save.
Moments after he moved from the mound to third base, Andres nearly let the Surfriders (13-3, No. 2 in Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10) back in it. He fielded a grounder that could have been a game-ending double play, but threw the ball into right field to allow Kailua’s only run of the game. The next batter did the same, grounding to third. This time, Andres turned the DP to finish it off.
“I was a little bit rattled because I couldn’t finish the inning,” Andres said. “The second grounder came and I rolled it over and got the double play routine.”
Waiakea (16-2, No. 7 in Star-Advertiser poll) is in the semifinals, something its Big Island counterpart and BIIF champion Hilo couldn’t do earlier in the day in a 5-4 loss to Campbell.