comscore Mid-Pac wins it all | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Mid-Pac wins it all

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    The Mid-Pacific Owls celebrated their victory in the bottom of the seventh inning of the 2013 HHSAA Championship game against the Mililani Trojans on Tuesday at Les Murakami Stadium in Manoa. Mid-Pacific came from behind to win 3-1.
    Mid-Pacific's Trey Saito delivered in the bottom of the first inning of the 2013 HHSAA Championship baseball game between the Mililani Trojans and the Mid-Pacific Owls on Tuesday at Les Murakami Stadium in Manoa.
    Mid-Pacific's Cal Muramaru was safe at third after Mililani's Trevor Inouye wasn't able to come up with the throw in the top of the third inning of the 2013 HHSAA Championship baseball game between the Mililani Trojans and the Mid-Pacific Owls on Tuesday at Les Murakami Stadium in Manoa.

Marcus Doi socked a two-run single in the top of the seventh to give second-seeded Mid-Pacific the lead and the Owls went on to rally past unseeded Mililani 3-1 on Tuesday in the Division I final of the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA Baseball State Championships.

It was a classic pitchers duel from the start between MPI’s Trey Saito and Mililani’s Kanoa Hironaka.

A boisterous crowd of 2,427 at Murakami Stadium saw MPI (14-4) win its fifth state crown, all under coach Dunn Muramaru. It is the Owls’ first state championship since 2002. Muramaru was drenched, thanks to a Gatorade shower, but was smiling as medals were presented to both teams.

“They just took care of business. For a while, I thought we’d lost our sixth championship game. It was one of the better championship games,” Muramaru said. “Trey didn’t have his best stuff, but we just go with him. He’s the best that we’ve got.”

Mililani finished 12-8, a Cinderella team that nearly shocked the Owls. The Trojans were three outs away from their first state baseball title.

“We played six innings out of seven. You can’t do that against a great team. Mid-Pac, they do the little things. A well-coached team,” Mililani coach Mark Hirayama said. “Kanoa is going to be hard to replace. He grew up a lot the last couple of years as a player and person.”

MPI got clutch production at the plate in the top of the seventh from their Nos. 8 and 9 batters.

Ryne Saiki walked on a full-count pitch and Cal Muramaru’s sacrifice bunt was muffed by Hironaka for the game’s lone error.

After Isiah Kiner-Falefa struck out trying to bunt the runners up, Quintin-John Collier singled to right, loading the bases. Hironaka then faced Doi, who was hitless in three previous at-bats.

Hironaka got a hard slider on the outside corner for a first strike, but came back inside and Doi was ready.

“He came inside with the fastball and I was surprised,” Doi said of his single to left.

Saiki and Muramaru scored on the hit, giving MPI a 2-1 lead.

After a sacrifice bunt by Daniel Fentriss, designated hitter Bryce Asao lined a 1-0 pitch to center, bringing Collier home from third for a 3-1 lead. On the same play, however, center fielder Ekolu Ramos threw out Doi at home plate with a fine throw on the fly.

Saito then retired the Trojans in order in the bottom of the seventh, getting Kanoa Wong on a foul pop to Fentriss off first base for the final out.

Saito was a rock on the mound, working steady even after Mililani took a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning. The senior right-hander scattered eight hits, struck out two and walked two, but he let his defense shine. The Owls came up with three defensive gems to support their ace.

“It’s always my defense. I can always trust in them. I trust our offense, too. They’re good hitters. They’ve put the time in,” Saito said.

Hironaka was on his way to a career-highlight game. His slider was on point and kept the Owls shackled — just three hits through six innings. He finished with three strikeouts and three walks, allowing just one earned run.

The Trojans took the lead in the bottom of the fifth on an infield single by Sean Sonognini. His single scored Troy Kakugawa, who had tripled.

“We learned a lot. No one expected us to be here,” said Hironaka, a 6-foot-1 senior. “But we knew with the team we had, we could get this far as long as we put in all our effort. In the beginning of the season, we were falling apart, but once the playoffs started, we put it together and we knew this was what we could do.”

All-Tournament Team

INF: Daniel Fentriss, Mid-Pacific

INF: Quintin-John Collier, Mid-Pacific

INF: Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Mid-Pacific

INF: Troy Kakugawa, Mililani

INF: Jamesson Madrid, Mililani

OF: Ali‘i Pedrina, Campbell

OF: Jodd Carter, Hilo

OF: Ekolu Ramos, Mililani

P: Kanoa Hironaka, Mililani

P: Brent Sakurai, Mid-Pacific

DH: Sean Sonognini, Mililani

U: Caleb Freitas-Fields, Waiakea

Most Outstanding Player: Trey Saito, pitcher, Mid-Pacific

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