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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Tyler Tokunaga, Sean Milan (5), Chevas Numata (7) and Isaac Shim. Jake Cobb-Adams, Kahaku Iaea (2), Alika Ramseyer-Ho and Kea Vierra. W—Milan. L—Ramseyer-Ho. S—Numata.
Leading hitters—PC: Kai Kealoha 2-3, run; Numata 2-3, HR, 2B, 3 RBIs, run. Kail: Zuttermeister 3-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBIs, 2 runs.
Moanalua 7, Mililani 0
Todd Takabuki pitched a complete game, striking out two batters as Na Menehune shut out the Trojans.
Michael Igami led Moanalua at bat with two hits, including a double.
Moanalua advances to play Pearl City for the OIA championship today.
Todd Takabuki and Brandon Kong. Cristian Namoca, Jameson Madrid (4) and Wade Taoka. W—Takabuki. L—Namoca.
Leading hitters—Moan: Michael Igami 2-4, 2b, 3 runs. Mil: Shanztyn Agbayani-Shibao 2b.
Leilehua 4, Campbell 2
The Mules’ Guy Phillips drove in the go-ahead run on an RBI double in the fourth inning after the Sabers rallied to knot the game at 2, and Kenan Sadanaga singled home an insurance run in the fifth as Leilehua clinched a state berth with a win over Campbell.
Keanu Smeigh, Brannon Okinaka (5), Robert Kahana (6) and Chadwick Kaalekahi. Cyrus Ah Quin, Kenan Sadanaga (6) and Aaron Higa. W—Ah Quin. L—Smeigh. S—Sadanaga.
Leading hitters—Camp: Cole Nagamine 2-4. Lei: Higa 2-3, 2b; Guy Phillips 2-3, 2b, 2 RBIs.
OIA WHITE PLAYOFFS
Waipahu 14, Waialua 4, 6 innings
The Marauders advanced to the OIA White championship game by capitalizing on four Bulldogs errors for a 10-run-rule victory.
Waipahu will face Radford in today’s title game.
Justin Tantog, Mykai Guigui (3), Christian Whittaker (4) and Whittaker, Robert Ladia (4). Drake Yoshioka, Jarinn Abreu (5), Micah Luke (5) and Tyler Nishino.
Leading hitters—Wail: Guigui 2-3. Waip: Abreu 2-3; Kalani Spencer HR.
Roosevelt 5, Kapolei 4
Brandon Hamasaki drove in a pair of runs and scored one as the Rough Riders edged out the Hurricanes.
At Stevenson Middle School
Trey Kamachi and William Leskovec. Edison Sakata and Mike Matsuoka. W—Sakata. L—Kamachi.
Leading hitters—Kapo: Kamachi 3b, 3 RBIs; Kaulan Naki 2b. Roos: Brandon Hamasaki 1-4, 2 RBIs; Drayson Ito 1-2, RBI.