In a season of bunched-up series formats, sophomores are becoming bigger contributors.
The latest 10th-grader to spring into action was first-time starter Christian Namoca, who delivered 4 1/3 innings of solid work as No. 8 Mililani handed No. 5 Pearl City its first loss, 9-6, yesterday at the Chargers’ field.
A mix of speeds and a nasty curveball by the left-hander were the right tonic for Namoca, who had never pitched more than one inning in a varsity appearance until yesterday.
“My curve was working when I was warming up,” said Namoca, who struck out four and walked two.
Both teams are now 6-1 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West. They meet again on Saturday at Central Oahu Regional Park.
For the Trojans, whose week began with a 10-9 loss to Kapolei, it was a nice bounce-back effort. The visitors racked up 11 hits against three Pearl City pitchers, including seven runs and eight hits off ace Isaac Shim.
Like Namoca, Shim had a nasty curveball working early. However, Mililani catcher Wade Taoka was in full command behind the plate. The senior called breaking ball after breaking ball that Pearl City swung at for strikes, even as Taoka was forced to sacrifice his body to stop those benders in the dirt.
“We tried to keep them off balance,” said Taoka, who calls the pitches. “It’s hard work, hard work at practice. Throwing the breaking ball in the dirt made them chase. He has a fast and a slow curve.”
Trojans coach Mark Hirayama continues to show great faith in his young pitching staff.
“We try to prepare everybody,” Hirayama said. “(Namoca) had a good pen yesterday. If he doesn’t have it, we go to the next guy.
“I just gave him the ball today. Wade did a good job of keeping everything in front. Our pitchers can’t be afraid to throw anything in the dirt.”
Shim wasn’t so fortunate. Two strikeout pitches turned into passed balls. In all, he ended up with two wild pitches to go with three total passed balls.
“Sometimes he was ahead in the count and we had a tough time catching the breaking ball,” first-year Pearl City varsity coach Mitch Yamato said. “Hat’s off to Mililani. Their pitcher did good. He held us to two hits going into the fifth.
“Maybe we were anxious, trying to hit pitchers’ pitches instead of our pitches.”
The Trojans were aggressive from the start. Troy Yoshizawa, who finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored, came home with Jacob Mariano on Reid Uyehara’s bouncing, bad-hop double that went over Pearl City first baseman Austin Bolosan into right field.
Chargers shortstop Tyler Tokunaga’s throwing error opened the door for three unearned Mililani runs in the second inning. Chad Uyehara scored on a wild pitch and Yoshizawa singled home Ekolu Ramos to give the Trojans a 4-0 lead.
Yoshizawa later scored on a passed ball — Mariano swung and missed on a pitch in the dirt that got away from Kory Nakamura.
Namoca, unscored on through four innings, tired in the fifth. He left with the bases loaded and one out.
Pearl City reached reliever Jameson Madrid, another sophomore, for a double, two singles and a walk. Chevas Numata’s two-run single helped Pearl City close the gap to 7-5, but two poor base-running choices cost the Chargers two outs.
Dustyn Cook, the right fielder, gunned down Numata at the plate for the second out. Tanner Tokunaga, who had doubled in a run, was thrown out attempting to advance to third.
Run-scoring singles by Yoshizawa and Mariano lifted Mililani to a 9-5 lead in the top of the sixth.
Christian Namoca, Jameson Madrid (5) and Wade Taoka; Isaac Shim, Sean Milan (6), Tyler Tokunaga (7) and Kory Nakamura, Chevas Numata (4). W—Namoca. L—Shim.
Leading hitters—Mil: Troy Yoshizawa, 3-4, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Jacob Mariano, 2-3, RBI, run; Justin Revilla, 2-3, RBI, run; Reid Uyehara, 2-4, 2B, RBIs, run; Ekolu Ramos, 2-3, 2 runs. PC: Troy Scanlan, 2-4, RBI, run; Tanner Tokunaga, 2-4, 2B, RBI.
Aiea 5, Waianae 2
Taylor Kim was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles as Na Alii took advantage of eight Seariders errors for the victory.
Kalana Wong and Taylor Tailulu; Kana Kuiee and Clinton Mahiai-Kala.
Leading hitters—Aiea: Kalana Wong 2-3, Taylor Kim 3-4, 2 2Bs. Wai: Alan Ibanes, 1-3, HR, 2 RBIs.
Kalaheo 14, Farrington 4
Christian Palmer had a two-run triple in the second inning and an RBI triple in the fourth to ignite eight- and six-run rallies and carry the Mustangs over the Governors.
At Kailua Recreation Center
Paul Reyes and Bryston Doctolero; Luke Pauli, Alika Andres (1) and Justin Pagan.
Leading hitters—Kal: Alika Andres, 2-4, 2B; Makena Johnston, 3-3, 2B; Christian Palmer, 2-3, 2 3Bs; Luke Pauli, 2-3; Joseph Whiting, 2-2, 2B.
Kahuku 2, Castle 1
The Red Raiders scored on a squeeze play and a passed ball to break a scoreless tie in the top of the eighth against the Knights. Castle scored its run in the bottom of the eighth on a wild pitch.
Michael Sabido, Spenser Nagy (8) and Samson Mamizuka; Nick Oretta, Elika Jarrett (8) and Robert Fram. W—Nagy. L—Jarrett.
Roosevelt 1, Kaiser 0
Sophomore right-hander Edison Sakata spun a two-hit shutout and Leland Kahooihihala singled home the game-winning run in the bottom of the fourth inning to lift the Rough Riders over the Cougars.
At Stevenson Middle School
Royce Kuromoto and Makana Lyman; Edison Sakata and Michael Matsuoka. W—Sakata. L—Kuromoto.
Leading hitters—Kai: Austin Ortega, 2B. Roo: Randon Mamuad, 2-3; Leland Kahooihihala, RBI.
No. 9 Punahou 2, Damien 1
Rolenn Himuro singled home Kevin Tongg in the bottom of the fifth inning for the go-ahead run as the Buffanblu edged the Monarchs.
At Central Oahu Regional Park
Jeremy Dela Cruz and Alan Mohika; Zachery Muenster, Tyler Kanazawa (7) and Kainoa Harrison. W—Muenster. L—Dela Cruz.
Leading hitters—Dam: Aalona Amimoto, 2-2, RBI; Justin Abe, 1-2, 2B. Pun: Rolenn Himuro, 2-2, RBI, run; Michael Suiter, 2-3; Ryan Yamane, 2-3;
‘Iolani 4, No. 10 Kamehameha 1
Carlos Rodriguez struck out 11 over six innings and Jensen Park drove in three runs to carry the Raiders past the Warriors.
At Central Oahu Regional Park
Carlos Rodriguez, Chase Wayton (7) and Tiras Koon; Keanu Sato, Brennan Doane-Alcos (3), Pookela Benanua (4) and Moku Kukonu, Chaz Ferreria. W—Rodriguez. L—Sato. Sv—Wayton.
Leading hitters—Iol: Jensen Park, 1-3, 3B, 3 RBIs; Tanner Nishioka, RBI. KS: Kewby Meyer, 2-3; Kaulana Smith, RBI.
No. 1 Mid-Pacific 9, Maryknoll 0
Keiki Carlos and Tori Hamura combined on a two-hit shutout and Ali‘itasi Docktor was 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored as the Owls opened the second round of ILHplay with a rout of the Spartans.
Mid-Pacific clinched a state-tournament berth Tuesday with a win over ‘Iolani to finish the first half 8-1.
Kristin Yamasaki and Carolann Toyama; Keiki Carlos, Tori Hamura (7) and Katy Kochi. W—Carlos. L—Yamasaki.
Leading hitters—MP: Ali’itasi Docktor 3-3, RBI, 2 runs; Katy Kochi 2 RBIs; Tori Hamura, 3B, 2 RBIs; Lindsey Matoi, 2-4; Gabi Hollinger 2-3, 2B, 2 runs; Taylor Oda, 2-2.
No. 2 ‘Iolani 16, St. Francis 6
Kim Souza was 4-for-4 with three RBIs and Kaleen Terayama was 3-for-4 with four RBIs as the Raiders unleashed a 19-hit attack in rolling by the Saints.
Brooke Langsi, Tiffany Trantham (3) and Kelsie Hee; Taylor Garcia-Perreira, Ashlyn Yokoyama (5) and Ula Reis-Moniz. W—Garcia-Perreira. L—Langsi.
Leading hitters—SF: Rachel Carlos, 2-2, run; Kelsie Hee, 1-4, 2B; Kelcee Santos, 3-4. Iol: Lahela Usui, 2-4, 2 runs; Kim Souza, 4-4, 2 2Bs, 3 RBIs, 3 runs; Ula Reis-Moniz, 2-3, 2 RBIs; Alex Masaquel, 2-2, 2B, 3 RBIs, 4 runs; Mari Fujimoto, 2-3, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Kaleen Terayama, 3-4, 2B, 4 RBIs; Amanda McCaskill, 2-3, 2 runs.
No. 2 Punahou 10, Sacred Hearts 5
Kayla Shimoda went 4-for-4 and had two doubles as the Buffanblu beat the Lancers.
At Crane Park
Jayci Young, Kacie Kiyuna (6), Tai-Manu Olivao (7), Marie Rewrick (7), Jayci Young (7) and Kayla Shimoda; Jordyn Waracka (7), Victoria Simpson and Jordan Nelson (7). W—Kiyuna. L—Waracka.
Leading hitters—Pun: Shimoda 4-4, 2 2Bs; Reina Furuya 2-3, 3B 2 RBIs; Mysha Sataraka 2-3; Alexis Defries 2-3.
Kamehameha 10, Pac-Five 1
Misty Hoohuli and Alexxus Ho each recorded two hits as the Warriors defeated the Wolf Pack.
S. Luczak and C. Koja; Kaya Naiwi, Ahren Glackin (5) and Marche Llanos. W—Naiwi. L—Luczak.
Leading hitters—P5: A. Keyes, 2-3; Luczak 1-3, 2B. KS: Misty Hoohuli, 2-4, 2B; Alexxus Ho, 2-4, 2 2Bs.
CORRECTION: Jensen Park drove in three runs and batted 1-for-3 with a triple in ‘Iolani’s 4-1 victory over No. 10 Kamehameha. A different player was credited in a previous version of this story.