All Isaac Shim wanted was a chance.
Little did he know the opportunity he craved would come against his own bloodline.
With Pearl City’s state championship hopes down to its last out in the top of the seventh and the Chargers’ catcher coming up, Moanalua handed the ball to Bronson Shim.
The second cousins greeted each other at the occasional family function, but hadn’t faced off on the field in high school before Bronson was announced as Na Menehune’s reliever.
"On the field," Isaac Shim said, "it’s straight business."
Bronson, protecting a 1-0 Na Menehune lead with runners on second and third, took the early advantage, moving within a strike of ending the season with a 1-2 count. The fourth pitch sailed way outside, bringing up a 2-2 offering.
"Honestly, I was scared," said Isaac, the ninth hitter in the Pearl City order, "but I just told myself, ‘See ball, hit ball.’ "
That he did.
(as selected by HHSAA staff)
1B – Kamalu Kamoku, Moanalua
Co-Most Valuable Players
(as selected by HHSAA staff)
1B – Travis Koga, Kauai
Most Valuable Player
Shim drilled a line drive to center to score Sean Milan and Tanner Tokunaga to give the Chargers the lead and, eventually, the storied program’s first state championship.
"Sorry I had to do it to him, but that’s the way the game went," he said.
Whether Isaac would even get up to bat in the final inning of his last high school game was in doubt when Moanalua broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth.
As big as his hit was, his trip to the mound after Moanalua’s Kamalu Kamoku stroked an RBI double off of Pearl City pitcher Chevas Numata may have also been key to the Chargers’ hopes.
"I just went up to the mound and just cracked a joke with him to get him to relax," Shim said. "I told him just pitch, we’ve got plenty more ballgame and let’s just get this last out and get the bats working."
Said Numata: "He’s a super good catcher. That’s what he does; he knows when I’m mad, so he’ll just fool around with me."
Numata struck out the next batter to keep it a one-run deficit going into the seventh. Heading into the dugout, Shim, who would be the fifth hitter up, "kept telling everybody get me up, get me up."
The Chargers faced a potential last pitch four times, starting when Tokunaga, a freshman, went down 1-2 against Moanalua starter Regan Lum. Tokunaga, who hit two home runs in the title game for Waipio at the Little League World Series in 2008, fouled one back to the screen, then ripped the next pitch down the left-field line for his second double of the game.
"Tanner being a freshman, we brought him up early for this reason," Pearl City coach Mitch Yamato said. "We knew he had guts."
After Pearl City took the lead, the spotlight turned to Numata and Shim, both seniors who experienced the heartbreak of quarterfinal losses to Punahou the last two years.
Numata struck out the first two batters and got a fly out to right to give his family its second state championship. His sister won a title with the Pearl City softball team, while his brother, Chace, came up short before being drafted and is now playing rookie league ball in Clearwater, Fla.
"Chevas was pitching great tonight," Shim said. "He was on command, his fastball was there, he hit spots with everything. He was great."