POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Apr 23, 2011
In a battle powered by home runs, Pearl City did the little things when they mattered most. Troy Scanlan’s bases-loaded walk in the sixth inning gave the Chargers the lead for good, and Chevas Numata retired the side in the seventh in relief as No. 9 Pearl City edged No. 2 Kailua 7-6 yesterday.
The semifinal win in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red playoffs vaults the Chargers into today’s final at Patsy Mink Central Oahu Regional Park. Pearl City, which was 8-4 in regular-season play, can win its fifth consecutive OIA title. Kailua (12-1-1) suffered its first loss of the season. Both teams have already qualified for the state tournament.
The Surfriders had ridden three homers to rally from a six-run deficit and tie the game against Pearl City starter Tyler Tokunaga. Pearl City got a key lift from sophomore Sean Milan, a diminutive left-hander. Milan, who said he struggled during the junior varsity season over the winter, kept Kailua off balance. Milan relied heavily on his change-up.
“It was working good, so that’s what I threw,” said Milan, who pitched 1 2⁄3 innings. “The toughest thing (for Kailua) was the inside cutter and the change-up.”
“He threw 90 percent off-speed. It was a big adjustment from hard to slow. We didn’t adjust,” Kailua coach Corey Ishigo said of the change from Tokunaga to Milan. “That was the big difference.”
Milan’s clutch play offset a strong effort from Kailua’s Alika Ramseyer-Ho, who homered and permitted just one run in 31⁄3 innings of relief.
Numata, who homered in the second, was powerful in the seventh on the mound. Bryson Dymond led off with a single, but Numata retired the next three batters, getting a diving catch in the right-field corner from Kory Nakamura off the bat of the hot hitting Kila Zuttermeister. The catch was especially tough on the slope of Kailua’s outfield, which rolls higher at the warning track.
“We joked around he had enough practice at the beginning of the game,” first-year Chargers coach Mitch Yamato said. “It’s a tough thing, not playing here that often. He made the catch when he had to make the catch.”
Numata brought a lot of heat. “I just had to keep the ball low. All the pitches up, they’d been hitting,” Numata added. “Home-field advantage, the wind was blowing out (to right field). They were going for it. They were tough. They never stopped.”
The visitors reached Jake Cobb-Adams, the starter, for a run in the first on a run-scoring double off the top of the right-field fence. With two runners on base, Cobb-Adams escaped further damage by getting Sheldon Milan to ground into a double play.
There was no such fortune in the second. Two walks, a passed ball and a wild pitch led to two Pearl City runs. Reliever Kahaku Iaea entered, but Numata greeted him with a three-run homer deep to left and the Chargers led 6-0.
Kailua scored in the bottom of the second when Alan Baldwin tripled and scored on a wild pitch. With Ramseyer-Ho in command on the mound, the Surfriders chipped into the lead. Eli Davidann socked a two-strike, opposite-field homer to right, and Ramseyer-Ho belted an opposite-field solo shot to right center as Kailua cut the lead down to 6-4 in the bottom of the fourth.
Zuttermeister’s two-run shot to right tied it in the bottom of the fifth. From there, however, the winds blowing out to right died down, and Milan and Numata seized the opportunity. Kailua plays in the OIA third-place game today against Mililani, then looks ahead to the state tourney, knowing four wins in four days can be done. Punahou won last year’s state crown that way.
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At Stevenson Middle School