Thursday, November 26, 2015         


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Advantage hitters in Sugar Mill Classic

By Paul Honda


So much for all-star pitching duels.

The Red squad, hitless for two innings, erupted for 21 hits en route to a 19-11 rout of the Green team in the Sugar Mill Senior Classic on Monday at sunny Hans L’Orange Park.

From top to bottom, the Red all-stars were prolific at the plate. Leadoff hitter Justin Protacio (Mid-Pacific) walked twice and singled twice, scoring two runs and driving in two more. Kalei Contrades (Saint Louis) went 3-for-4, while a host of his teammates drove in at least two runs against the Green’s committee of eight hurlers.

“It just felt good hitting today. That’s what I’ve been working on in the offseason every day, at school, getting in the batting cage,” said Contrades, a pitcher/third baseman who signed with San Jose State.

“They had all the talent,” said Protacio, who will play at Kansas next season. “They had the power hitters.”

Indeed, the Green team had at least seven Division I signees, plus a handful more en route to junior colleges. Another Kansas signee, Campbell ace Robert Kahana, threw just one inning at the end for the Green, retiring the side in order.

“That was one of the only schools that was offering close to full (scholarship), so my parents don’t have to pay,” he said.

Among the clutch swingers for the Red stars were: Jensen Park (‘Iolani), who tripled; Kaimana Perreira-Alquiza (Waimea), who had a double and three RBIs; Tre Haliburton-Goeas (Saint Louis), who doubled and scored three runs; and Jordan Kumasaka (Pac-Five).

Kumasaka, a wiry left-hander, struck out the side in the top of the third as the Red stars dug out of a five-run hole. Among his victims was a stunned Kaeo Aliviado (Saint Louis), one of the state’s top hitters.

Kumasaka, an Assets School senior, also hit 2-for-3, including a double. He scored twice in addition to driving in a run.

“I was kind of nervous when (Aliviado) came up. I faced him once (in the regular season) and he got a hit off me. I was just changing up the speeds and all,” Kumasaka said, admitting he was more surprised with his base hits.

“I don’t know how that happened. I didn’t touch the bat all season, except against St. Francis,” he said, noting that he had “maybe” four at-bats all spring.

Nicknamed by friends “Rat,” Kumasaka will play at Hawaii-Hilo next season.

The Green squad opened a lot of eyes in batting practice, sending “30 homers” out of the park, according to Protacio and Contrades.

“We only hit 10,” Protacio said.

The Green teed off on Contrades in the second — most pitchers looked rusty Monday — for five runs. However, the Red team rallied with seven runs in the next three frames, taking a 7-5 lead with Todd Takabuki (Moanalua) on the mound in the fifth.

The Red poured on 10 runs in the sixth inning to put the game out of reach.

Regan Lum (Moanalua) provided one of the highlights of the game in the bottom of the seventh. He ripped a shot into left-center to drive home a run, and barreled around second base as his third-base coach waved him on. His headfirst slide couldn’t beat the throw, however. He took the play with a big grin.

“I was not expecting to dive at all. I just told myself don’t get out, but I got out anyway. I was thinking, why is he making me round (second) for third,” Lum said.

All in all, it was almost as productive an afternoon as it was fun. Organizer Casey Onaga has overseen the tourney for the past four seasons since pro baseball scout Eric Tokunaga departed for the mainland.

“From getting the players together to coordinating the field and volunteers, it’s some hard work. It’s all volunteers, the Tanabe ohana, the Abeshima ohana, the Okata family. That’s my three families that help me the most, my baseball family,” Onaga said. “It’s for the love of the game.”

Onaga is looking forward to another Sugar Mill Classic. Tokunaga put a decade of Classics together before Onaga took over.

“Having the boys together for one last game of their high school career, that’s what I enjoy out of it,” Onaga said. “This year, there’s a lot of talent, a lot of guys who have signed D-I scholarships.”


At Hans L'Orange Park
Red Stars 001 242 (10)00 -- 19 21 1
Green Stars 050 001 203 -- 11 9 4

Kalei Contrades, Jordan Kumasaka (3), Ryan McMonigle (4), Todd Takabuki (5), Tre Haliburton-Goeas (6), Bronson Shim (8) and Po'o Ka'alekahi, Tiras Koon (6). Carlos Rodriguez, Isaac Shim (3), Chevas Numata (4), Kamalu Kamoku (5), Kewby Meyer (6), Kaeo Aliviado (7), Regan Lum (7), Robert Kahana (9) and Alan Baldwin. W--Takabuki. L--Kamoku.

Leading hitters--Red: Justin Protacio 2-2, 2 BB, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Brock Asher 1-3, 3b, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Jensen Park 2-4, 3b, 2 RBIs; Contrades 3-4; Kai Kealoha 1-2, 2 BB, 2b, 2 runs; Kaimana Perreira-Alquiza 2-3, 2b, 3 RBIs, 2 runs; McMonigle 1-3, 2 RBIs; Koon 2-4, 2b, RBI; Kumasaka 2-3, 2b, 2 runs. Green: Kahana 1-3, 3B, RBI, run; Rodriguez 1-3, 3b, run; I. Shim 2-2, 2b, 2 runs; Lum 2-3, 2b, 3 RBIs.

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