A berth opposite Mililani in the Division I state baseball final came down to a matter of inches.
Jordan Mopas’ fly ball to left field fell just off the glove of a diving Keola Himan to score two runs in the top of the seventh inning and give Saint Louis a heart-stopping 3-1 victory over Campbell on Thursday night in the semifinals of the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA State Baseball Championships at Les Murakami Stadium.
Mopas finished with two doubles and two RBIs and Peyton Oshiro threw six innings of two-hit ball to push the Crusaders (17-6) into the state final for the first time since 2008.
“I felt like it was a popup and then I looked and I saw the dive and I just heard the crowd reaction and kept running to second,” Mopas said. “Everything has clicked (for us) in the state tournament.”
Nothing has been given to the Crusaders, who have earned their way into the final with two well-played games.
Saint Louis hasn’t committed an error in 20 innings in the tournament and has allowed only one run on nine hits.
“We’ve had to be perfect,” Saint Louis coach George Gusman said. “We had a big first-and-third situation and threw the runner out at first and then got the runner home and the momentum switched to our side. That was huge for us.”
The game was tied 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth when Dewayne Sprinkel reached on a one-out infield single for Campbell’s second hit of the game. Himan drew a four-pitch walk to put the go-ahead run on second for Dorrien Hermosura, who hit a grounder in the hole between first and second.
Tanner Atiburcio fielded it quickly, spun and gathered himself before throwing to first for the second out. Mopas caught it and quickly threw home to get Sprinkel trying to score from second.
“I really wasn’t aware until I actually looked at home and just fired,” Mopas said. “Luckily I made a good throw.”
Mililani 4, Kailua 0
One more brick.
Mililani baseball coach Mark Hirayama used a construction analogy to illustrate the Trojans’ development this spring, and they’ll enter their final game on Friday looking to add the final piece to their season-long project.
“This whole season’s been a building process,” Hirayama said. “We’re trying to put the bricks on the house one brick at a time, one day at a time. Hopefully tomorrow’s going to be the last brick we put in place.”
A year after ending a stirring postseason run with a loss in the state championship game, the Trojans gave themselves another opportunity to finish the job with a 4-0 win over Kailua in the semifinals of the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA Division I State Baseball Championship on Thursday at Les Murakami Stadium.
The Trojans advanced to Friday’s 7 p.m. championship game against Saint Louis at Murakami Stadium behind senior Trevor Inouye’s complete-game shutout. The right-hander held Kailua to three hits, struck out seven and walked two to help give Mililani another shot at the program’s first state title.
“That’s been our dream since the beginning of the season; that’s all we wanted do, just get to the state championships,” Inouye said.
Kamehameha-Hawaii 12, Waianae 2
Kamehameha-Hawaii coach Andrew Correa insisted it’s difficult getting to this point.
It hasn’t seemed that way for the Warriors, who won their second straight game by mercy rule to advance to the Division II final of the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA Baseball State Championships at Les Murakami Stadium.
KS-Hawaii is in the championship game for the third time in the past five years after beating OIA White champion Waianae, 12-2 in five innings on Thursday.
The Warriors (14-1-1) have yet to win a state title but have never entered the final on the roll they are on now.
KS-Hawaii has outscored its first two opponents 40-7 and rolled the Seariders (13-2), who won nine of their 11 regular-season games by at least 10 runs.
“It’s not easy, trust me,” Correa said. “(Our hitters) have been patient and waiting for good pitches. They’re not chasing bad pitches.”
Chay Toson went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI and Daylen Calicdan ended the game with an RBI double down the third-base line to score Keegan Miura with one out in the fifth.
Maryknoll 12, Kauai 3
Chase Uyema scattered five hits over five innings and Maryknoll used a six-run third inning to blow the game wide open in a 12-3 rout of Kauai in the semifinals of the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA Division II State Baseball Championships.
“Kauai can really swing the bat. They’re very aggressive and we had to keep them off-balance,” Spartans coach Randy Yamashiro said. “Chase did his job. He kept us in the ballgame.”
The win at Les Murakami Stadium propelled the defending champion Spartans (17-3) into the title game. ILH champ Maryknoll will face Kamehameha-Hawaii in a repeat of last year’s final.
“That Nanakuli game opened up our eyes,” Uyema said, noting KS-Hawaii’s 28-5 win over the Golden Hawks on Wednesday.
Against an aggressive hitting team like KIF champion Kauai (10-4), Uyema was armed with a thorough scouting report from his coaches.
“The game plan was to keep it low and don’t give them anything in the mid-section,” said Uyema, who spotted his fastball and change-up well in warm-ups.
“My curve ball wasn’t hitting spots,” he noted.