A sprained ankle couldn’t keep Baldwin starter Brysen Dafun from pitching in the Bears’ state tournament opener.
Branden Kaupe’s sprained ankle is the reason the Bears are advancing to the semifinals.
Kaupe beat out a throw at second base, allowing Brent Nakagawa to score from third on an infield single for what proved to be the winning run in a 2-1 victory over Mid-Pacific last night in the quarterfinals of the Wally Yonamine Foundation State Baseball Championships at Les Murakami Stadium.
The Bears loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth for James Uwekoolani, who bounced a ball deep in the hole between shortstop and third base. Justin Protacio fielded the ball cleanly, but his only play was at second, where Kaupe bowled into the base to beat the throw, but rolled his ankle on the play.
After the game, Kaupe was on crutches and wasn’t sure if he would play today, but said it was well worth it.
"I knew he was going to second because it’s the faster throw and was easier," Kaupe said. "I knew I had to get there and I’m not used to the sliding on the field, so I hurt my ankle."
The third-seeded Bears (15-0) kept their undefeated streak alive heading into tonight’s semifinal game against No. 2 seed Moanalua. Baldwin’s last loss was a 13-2 drubbing by Punahou in the state final last year, giving the Buffanblu their seventh straight state championship.
"Losing like that last year has made us more hungry," said Dafun, who gave up one run on seven hits in seven innings. "I’ve been thinking about this game for the past two weeks since I didn’t get to play in our playoffs because I sprained my ankle."
Neither team had an extra-base hit in a well-played game. After Kaupe’s play helped Baldwin take a 2-1 lead, the Owls put the first two men on base in the sixth. Dafun hit pinch hitter Yoshinori Tanaka on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases, but got Justin Matoi to ground out to short to end the inning.
He closed the game with a perfect seventh inning.
"I’m a starter, so I like to pace myself, but my arm was feeling good in the seventh inning, so I decided to bring it," Dafun said.
Mid-Pacific’s Marcus Doi and Kelly Meguro held the Bears to four hits. Catcher Dane Fujinaka was the only player in the game with two hits, singling twice for Mid-Pacific, which finished with seven singles.
The Bears have won four state championships in school history, but none since 1995. To get a fifth, Baldwin will rely on two young starters to carry them through the next two days.
"Last year we had good pitching, and this year I’d say we have decent pitching," Baldwin coach Jon Viela said. "Our No. 2 and our No. 3 is a freshman and a sophomore that did really good for us, so that’s who is going to go for us the next couple of days."
Viela said sophomore Evin Kailiehu would start tonight against Na Menehune.
Brysen Dafun and Ryan Silva, Daniel Kinoshita (7). Marcus Doi, Kelly Meguro (5) and Dane Fujinaka. W—Dafun. L—Doi.
Leading hitters—MPI: Fujinaka 2-2.
No. 2 Moanalua 17, Hilo 9
Bronson Shim went 3-for-5 with three runs and three RBIs and Kamalu Kamoku went 3-for-4 with a double and three runs scored as Na Menehune pounded out 18 hits in the win.
Brad Waiki went 3-for-4 with a triple and three runs scored to lead the Vikings (10-4). The two teams combined for 30 hits and went through seven different pitchers.
Todd Takabuki, Bryson Yasui (3), Austyn Nagamine (5), Kekoa Kaulukukui (7) and Brandon Kong. Kien Kurokawa, Ridge Hoopii-Haslem (3), Keenen Nishioka (7) and Koa Matson. W—Nagamine. L—Kurokawa.
Leading hitters—Moan: Ross Hasegawa 2-4, run; Bronson Shim 3-5, 3b, 3 runs, 3 RBIs; Kamalu Kamoku 3-4, 2b, 3 runs, 2 RBIs; James Higa 2-3, 2 runs, RBI; Jordan Deponte 2-4, run, 2 RBIs; Miles Higa 2-4, 2 2b’s, 2 runs, RBI. Hilo: Hoopii-Haslem 2b, run; Dustin Tagawa 2-3, 3 runs; Brad Waiki 3-4, 3b, 3 runs, 2 RBIs; Ekolu Martins 2-3, run, RBI; Matson 2b, 3 RBIs; Levi Comilla 2-4, 2 RBIs; Keenen Nishioka 3b, run.
Pearl City 5, No. 4 Waiakea 2
Chevas Numata hit a two-run homer and Tanner Tokunaga hit a two-run triple in the sixth to help the Chargers beat the Warriors.
Tyler Tokunaga allowed eight hits and two runs in seven innings with three walks and five strikeouts to earn the win.
Quintin Torres-Costa went the distance for the Warriors (10-2-1), allowing seven hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
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Quintin Torres-Costa and Raycen Wong. Tyler Tokunaga and Isaac Shim. W—Tokunaga. L—Torres-Costa.
Leading hitters—Waik: Kylen Uyeda 2-3; Raycen Wong 2-3; Davy Camacho 2-2.. PC: Chevas Numara 2-run HR; Sheldon Milan 2-3, run; Tanner Tokunaga 1-3, 3b, 2 RBIs; Troy Barboza Scanlan 1-3, 2b, RBI.