When it came down to it, the Radford Rams wanted their best guy in the most clutch of situations.
Jobi Fontenot did not disappoint. The junior shortstop took the mound in the seventh, promptly threw a pickoff throw wildly for a two-base error, then struck out the side as Radford edged Waipahu 7-6 in the final of the Oahu Interscholastic Association White playoffs.
A tense crowd of about 200 watched at Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park. The win gave the Rams their second consecutive league title. Kea Owens, pitching in relief, used a sweeping left-handed curveball to get the win for Radford (10-3). Waipahu ace Drake Yoshioka took the loss as the Marauders’ perfect OIA season came to a halt after 11 wins.
Both teams had already qualified for the Division II state championships.
Fontenot’s slurveball was practically undetectable by Waipahu batters.
"I was ready to go," he said.
Fontenot took the mound in the top of the seventh after Jerry Tanupo singled off Owens. His first move was the wild throw to first, and Tanupo went all the way to third base with no outs.
"I was like, ‘Oh no. I put that one on myself. I put him at third.’ But I threw strikes," Fontenot said.
Rams coach Jacob Sur had no qualms about Fontenot, who earned the save.
"Jobi’s the kind of kid, he’s the guy you want on the mound with the ball and at the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. He’s a bulldog. You see it in his eyes. I told him, he’s got to be ready," he said.
"This team stuck to its guns. They worked hard and they learned how to finish," Sur said, noting the team’s season-opening three-game losing streak. Two of those losses were to Waipahu.
"They’ve been resilient. We’re not an imposing team. We’re not going to outhit people or throw it past guys, but we’re fundamentally sound," Sur said.
Sur and his counterpart, Milton Takenaka, have a long history. Sur played for Takenaka’s Waipahu American Legion team when Sur was in high school. Takenaka hopes his team can rebound soon.
"We haven’t had that many games this close, where we had to bunt. It comes down to the execution," he said.
The Marauders, who were denied in the White final last year by Radford, benefited from a five-run second inning to take the lead.
An error and walk led to run-scoring singles by Dylan Sugimoto and Tanupo, plus a two-run single by Yoshioka.
That gave Waipahu a 5-2 lead after two innings, but the Rams chipped away before taking the lead for good in the top of the seventh. Owens came up with a single up the middle to bring home Fontenot to tie the game at 6.
With one out, Roscoe Kaliikane then hit a grounder to third, but foiled Waipahu’s double-play attempt by beating the throw from second to first. That allowed Joseph Mafnas to score all the way from second with the go-ahead run.
Mafnas was key, going 3-for-3 with a triple, two RBIs and two runs.
"That’s how we’ve played all season. We come back and work hard," Mafnas said. "I feel great. I feel awesome."
Damon Puskarich, Jesus Tenorio (2), Kea Owens (4), Jobi Fontenot (7) and Troy Evans. Dylan Sugimoto, Drake Yoshioka (6) and Tyler Nishino. W–Owens. L–Yoshioka. S–Fontenot.
Leading hitters–Rad: Fontenot 2-4, 3 runs; Joseph Mafnas 4-3, 2B, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Owens 3-4, 2B, 2 RBIs. Wai: Dylan Sugimoto 2-4; Jerry Tanupo 2-3, 2B, 2 RBIs; Jarinn Abreu 2-4.
OIA WHITE PLAYOFFS
KALAHEO 3, WAIALUA 1
Junior first baseman Joe Whiting smacked a two-run double in the fourth inning as the Mustangs beat the Bulldogs to clinch the OIA’s No. 3 seed in the state Division II tournament.
Kekai Rivera-Albero and Christian Whittaker; Justin Pagan, Chris Palmer (6) and Geoffrey Craighead, Pagan (6). W–Pagan. L–Rivera-Albero.
Leading hitters–Wai: Mykal Guigui 2-3. Kal: Joe Whiting 1-2, 2b, 2 RBIs.
NO. 1 SAINT LOUIS 4, ‘IOLANI 1
Five pitchers combined to scatter eight hits as the Crusaders clipped the Raiders. Dylan Goto was 3-for-4 for ‘Iolani.
Kalei Contrades, Taylor Troy (3), Trevor Cooper (5), Chase DeCoito (6), Derek Nakasato (7) and Dallas Correa; Michael Diebold, Chase Wayton (3), Bryce Ah Sam (6), Tyler Ushio (7) and Tiras Koon. W–Troy. L–Diebold. S–Nakasato.
Leading hitters–SL: Shayne Kurihara 1-1, RBI; LJ Kalawaia RBI; Chad Duyag RBI. Iol: Dylan Goto 3-4, run; Jensen Park 2-3, RBI; Sean Odo 2-3.
NO. 4 MID-PACIFIC 9, NO. 6 PUNAHOU 7
Starting pitcher Marcus Doi struck out five over three innings and delivered a two-run homer as the Owls built a 7-1 lead and held off the Buffanblu.
Scott Peters, Tyler Kanazawa (2), Marcus Yoshii (3), Matthew Tonokawa (4), Steven Jordan Sakamo (5), Keoni Oliveri (6), Mark Ogata (6) and Ryan Reyes, Kainoa Harrison; Marcus Doi, Ivan Dilda (4), Jarren Dang (5), Dane Fujinaka (5) and Joshua Donovan, Fujinaka, Doi. W–Fujinaka. L–Oliveri.
Leading hitters–Pun: Michael Suiter, 3-3, 2b, HR, RBI, run; Kevin Tong 2-3, RBI, 2 runs; Nick Nomura 2 runs; Ryan Reyes 2b; Kainoa Harrison 2b. MP: Doi 2-3, HR, 2 RBIs, run; Fujinaka 2 RBIs; Cy Higashi, 2-2, 2b, run; Daniel Fentriss 1-1, 2b, RBI, run; Matt Oda 2 runs.
KAMEHAMEHA 8, DAMIEN 5
Kewby Meyer tripled, homered and drove in four runs to muscle the Warriors past the Monarchs.
DJ Dudoit, Kamana Kealoha (6) and Alan Mohika; Keanu Sato, Trey Smith (6) and Brett Yasui, Moku Kukonu. W–Smith. L–Dudoit.
Leading hitters–Dam: Jordan Murai 2-4, RBI, run; Aalona Amimoto 2 RBIs. Kam: Kewby Meyer 2-2, 3b, HR, 4 RBIs, 2 runs; Alika McGuire 2-2, 2b, RBI, 2 runs; Sheldon Kohatsu 1-2, 3b, RBI, run; Pookela Benanua 2b, run.
MARYKNOLL 16, ST. FRANCIS 3
David Nishiki and Jordan Kurokawa were each 3-for-5 to ignite a 14-hit attack as the Spartans thrashed the Saints. Kalei Davis was 3-for-3 with a home run for St. Francis.
At Central Oahu Regional Park
Matthew Yap, Layne Fujimoto (3), Tyler Todd (6) and Spencer Young, Michael Nishiki; Kanoe Pelekai, Kalei Davis (2), Shawn Baptiste (4), Sosiua Havea (5), Keha Wong (6) and Baptiste, Davis. W–Fujimoto. L–Pelekai.
Leading hitters–Mar: David Nishiki 3-5, 3 RBIs, 2 runs; Jordan Kurokawa 3-5, 2 RBIs, run; Tyler Todd 2-5, 3b, RBI, 2 runs; Trevor Saiki 2-3, RBI, 2 runs; Kyle Hirata 3 runs; Ryan Nakamura 2 runs. SF: Kalei Davis 3-3, HR, 2 RBIs, 2 runs.
NO. 8 ‘IOLANI 5, KAMEHAMEHA 1
Sophomore Alex Masaquel belted two solo home runs and Taylor Garcia-Perreira tossed a three-hitter to power the Raiders over the Warriors.
Taylor Garcia-Perreira and Kirstin Namba; Fahren Glackin and Marche Llanos. W–Garcia-Perreira. L–Glackin.
Leading hitters–Iol: Alex Masaquel 2-4, 2 HRs, 2 RBI; Kaitlyn Shikada 2-3, 2b, 2 runs; Marisa Terayama 2b. Kam: Karine Shaver 2b.
PAC-FIVE 7, MARYKNOLL 2
Sophomore right-hander Sofia Luczak struck out nine and clubbed a solo home run to lead the Wolfpack over the Spartans.
At Ala Wai
Brianna Guro and Carolann Toyama; Sofia Luczak and Cassie Koja. W–Luczak. L–Guro.
Leading hitters–Mar: Kori Nishitomi 2-4, run. P5: Alena Hookana 3-4, 2 2bs, 3 RBIs, run; Aja Keyes 2-3, RBI, 2 runs; Luczak 2-4, HR.
ST. FRANCIS 12, PAC-WEST 1
The Saints jumped to an early 10-0 lead and finished off Pac-West in six innings. St. Francis’ Brooke Langsi went 3-for-3 and pitched in the win.
At Central Oahu Regional Park
Brooke Langsi, Tiffany Trantham (5) and Ashley Wagner, Kelcie Hee (5); Brandy Okimoto and K. Fleming. W–Langsi. L–Okimoto.
Leading hitters–StF: Langsi 3-3; Shailah Fernandez 2-3; Nalani Antonio 2b; Wagner 2b; Britney Paranada 2b.