Down to its final strike, unseeded Kauai pulled off a miracle comeback to claim its first Division II state title with a 5-4 win over Damien tonight in the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA Baseball State Championships at Les Murakami Stadium.
Trailing 0-2 in the count with the tying run at third in the top of the seventh inning, Kauai’s Jacob Borrero hit a chopper back up the middle and beat the throw to first, allowing Ethan Gray to score the tying run from third to make it a 4-4 game.
Borrero spiked his helmet onto the ground in celebration after he slid in safely at first and was ejected from the game. Damien charged from its dugout assuming it had won the game, but the run counted.
At first, Kauai was given the third out on the play and came out to warm up for the bottom of the seventh inning. But after the umpires huddled together, they correctly ruled that although Borrero was ejected, the third out had not been recorded.
Kauai came back up to hit and Damien elected to intentionally walk Skyler Sadora to load the bases. Reliever Keoua Sibayan, who replaced Borrero on the mound in the sixth inning, hit a grounder to the right side that was bobbled by the first baseman, allowing the go-ahead run to score.
Sibayan then pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh inning to secure the win.
Kauai (13-3) won all three of its tournament games by one run. Damien (17-6) had its 10-game winning streak snapped.