In a tournament hampered by less-than-ideal conditions, Kauai found a perfect ending.
With a steady rain falling for much of the afternoon at Les Murakami Stadium, the Red Raiders captured the Division II title in the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA State Baseball Championship with an 11-2 win over Pac-Five yesterday.
"For one, I didn’t let it bother me at all and I think the kids did that, too," Kauai coach Hank Ibia said. "I told them nothing’s going to stop you guys. Not the wind, not the rain. Nothing is going to stop you."
For Kauai’s seniors, the win provided championship bookends to their high school careers. The Red Raiders won the inaugural Division II championship in 2008 and had to win two games yesterday to reclaim the title.
"I reminded them about four years ago," Ibia said. "If we want to do that again this is what we have to do; the leadership you provide in the next couple days will take us to the championship.
"It’s good for the kids, the parents and Kauai itself, taking the trophy back home."
Friday’s rainouts at Hans L’Orange Field forced the semifinals to be played yesterday, and Kauai survived a 3-2 duel with Waipahu in the game prior to the championship.
It made for a long day at the ballpark, but "every Saturday we have a doubleheader," Red Raiders first baseman Travis Koga said. "So Kauai helped us out a lot."
Shea Shimabukuro, one of the Red Raiders seniors, added a second title to his career by earning a complete-game victory against the Wolfpack. He held Pac-Five to five hits, walked none and ended the game with his third strikeout of the game.
As much as the memory of winning the title as freshmen drove the seniors, so did losing a heartbreaker to Maryknoll in the D-II final in 2009.
"We came back my sophomore year and we lost. That was a tough one, so we really wanted to get back here and realize our goal," Shimabukuro said.
The rain kept the Murakami Stadium grounds crew busy throughout the game tending to the mound and the area around home plate. But the mud didn’t bother Shimabukuro on his way to his second win of the tournament.
"Actually it wasn’t too bad," he said. "On Kauai the field’s not like that, they don’t clean it every time and they give you dry baseballs, so that’s better than at home. So it was manageable."
Austin Oshiro’s seventh-inning RBI single against Waipahu sent Kauai to its third D-II final in the past four years. The Red Raiders kept the momentum going with a three-run first against Pac-Five.
"That was a big boost and I think we rode that momentum the whole game," Shimabukuro said.
Koga added a two-run double in the third and Kauai batted around in a four-run fourth, with Erin Doi driving in two of his three runs with a single to right.
Pac-Five got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the inning, but the Red Raiders maintained a comfortable lead and added two more runs in the seventh.
While Kauai had grown accustomed to playing in the state final, Pac-Five’s appearance marked a first for the program. The Wolfpack showed up at 7:15 a.m. in advance of their semifinal game against Molokai, which they won 9-3.
"I think the name is out there now," first-year Pac-Five coach Dennis Fukunaga said. "It’s not only the tournament but what we did with Division I this season. … We played baseball with them and it showed we can be competitive."
KAUAI 3, WAIPAHU 2
Junior catcher Austin Oshiro singled home pinch-runner Matthew Ubueng with no outs in the bottom of the seventh to lift the Red Raiders past the Marauders and into the championship game.
Winning pitcher Jensen Koga singled to start the rally, advancing to second on an error and then giving way to Ubueng.
Sophomore Joshua Maglangit’s two-run single in the top of the seventh tied the game for Waipahu, which finished 12-2.
At Les Murakami Stadium
Dylan Sugimoto and Tyler Nishino; Jensen Koga and Austin Oshiro. W–Koga. L–Sugimoto.
Leading hitters–Wai: Joshua Maglangit 2 RBIs; Jarinn Abreu 1-2, run. Kauai: J. Koga 3-4, 2b; Travis Koga 1-2, 2 runs.
PAC-FIVE 9, MOLOKAI 3
Senior Landry Kiyabu tossed a complete game, striking out seven, as the Wolfpack beat the Farmers to advance to the championship game.
Seniors Reyn Sugai and Ryan Ueunten, the top two hitters in the Pac-Five lineup, combined to steal five bases and score four runs.
Molokai, the MIL champions, finished 8-2.
At Les Murakami Stadium
Landry Kiyabu and Bryson Kihara; Ryan Rapanot, Ehukai Rawlins (7) and Kamakana Duvauchelle-Andrade. W–Kiyabu. L–Rapanot.
Leading hitters–P5: Reyn Sugai 2-4, 2b, RBI, 2 runs; Ryan Ueunten 2b, RBI, 2 runs; Royce Fujii RBI, run. Mol: Raymond Lightfoot Lani 2-3; William Place 2-4, run; David Rapanot 2-4.
KAUAI 11, PAC-FIVE 2
|Aquino rf||3||3||2||1||Sugai ss||3||0||1||0|
|Shimabukuro p||5||0||1||0||Ueunten lf/p||3||0||1||0|
|Ebueng pr||0||0||0||0||Hampton pr||0||1||0||0|
|J.Koga 2b||3||2||1||2||Morimoto 1b||3||0||0||1|
|Oshiro c||3||0||1||2||Fujii 3b||3||1||0||0|
|Texeira pr||0||2||0||0||Sekiguchi dh||3||0||1||0|
|Doi 3b||4||1||2||3||Akamine pr||0||0||0||0|
|Rivera pr||0||0||0||0||Kihara c||2||0||0||1|
|T.Koga 1b||3||0||2||2||Osaki 2b||3||0||0||0|
|Ivi ss||3||1||0||0||Abe cf||3||0||2||0|
|Perreira lf||2||1||1||0||Baba rf||3||0||0||0|
|Smith-Butac cf 2||1||1||0||Teruya lf||0||0||0||0|
E–T. Koga, Ibia, Sugai, Fujimoto. DP–Kauai 1, Pac-Five 1. LOB–Kauai 8, Pac-Five 4. 2B–Aquino. Doi, T. Koga. 3B–Ueunten. SH–Aquino, Perreira, Smith-Butac. SF–Kihara. SB–Ibia, Fujii, Abe. CS–T. Koga, Perreira, Abe.
HBO–by Yabuki (T. Koga). PB–Oshiro.
Umpires–(Plate): Derek Uyeoka. (First): Delson Kalahiokalani. (Second): Doug Livingston. (Third): Paul Awong. T–2:37.