WAILUKU --- Baldwin battled.
When the four-day Wally Yonamine Foundation Division I State Baseball Tournament was all said and done, the final score of the final game at Maehara Stadium may not have reflected it.
After all, unseeded Punahou School pounded out 13 hits and romped past the third-seeded Bears 13-2 in a five-inning, mercy rule-shortened championship game for its seventh straight state title.
The Maui News / AMANDA COWAN photo
Members of the Baldwin High School team stand along Maehara Stadium’s first-base line as Punahou is awarded the championship trophy Saturday night after a 13-2, five-inning win in the Wally Yonamine Foundation Division I State Baseball Tournament final.
The Buffanblu poured it on early and often. Every batter scored in a 10-run first inning, and each one had reached base twice with just one out in the third.
Still, that meant nothing to Baldwin.
''The game ain't over,'' one player yelled as the team returned to the dugout.
Zachery Muenster and Kaiana Eldredge. Gyson Mochizuki, Brysen Dafun (1), Brock Shishido (1) and Daniel Kinoshita. W---Muenster. L---Mochizuki. 2B---Punahou, Kainoa Crowell. HR---Punahou, Michael Suiter, Eldredge.
Leading hitters---Punahou, Michael Suiter 3-4, 3 runs, RBI; Eldredge 2-3, run, RBI; Crowell 2-4, 4 RBIs, 2 runs; Rick Nomura 2-4, RBI, 2 runs; Ryan Yamane 2-4, RBI, run.
WALLY YONAMINE FOUNDATION DIVISION I STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
At Maehara Stadium
Campbell 4, Moanalua 3
Kailua 6, Kaiser 1
Punahou 12, Mililani 0, 5 innings
Mid-Pacific 5, Maui High 0
Moanalua 6, Kaiser 5, 4 innings
Mid-Pacific 8, Hilo 5, 10 innings
Saint Louis 4, Kailua 2
Punahou 8, Pearl City 1
Baldwin 13, Campbell 2, 6 innings
Mililani 5, Maui High 3
Pearl City 11, Hilo 1, 6 innings
Kailua 5, Campbell 3, 6 innings
Baldwin 5, Saint Louis 2
Punahou 4, Mid-Pacific 1
Seventh-place game: Moanalua 7, Mililani 7, 7 innings, tie
Fifth-place game: Kailua 8, Pearl City 2, 6 innings
Third-place game: Mid-Pacific 8, Saint Louis 5, 6 innings
Championship game: Punahou 13, Baldwin 2, 5 innings
Most Outstanding Player---Zachery Muenster, Punahou. P---Chase Tokunaga, Baldwin; Alakai Aglipay, Punahou. C---Kaiana Eldredge, Punahou. 1B---Brock Shishido, Baldwin. 2B---Kaulana Ching, Baldwin. 3B---Rick Nomura, Punahou. SS---Ryan Yamane, Punahou. OF---Kainoa Crowell, Punahou; Michael Suiter, Punahou; Nikolas Alarcio, MPI. Util---Ryan Muraoka, MPI.
That's the attitude the Bears exhibited all season long.
''Our boys, they're taught to never give up,'' said Baldwin coach Jon Viela. ''We all live by the Pono value, which is to do the right thing. That's what they do.
''They play the game hard, they respect the game, 'cause this is a great game and we will always stress that to them. Never disrespect the game because this game can take them far,'' he added. ''All of those characteristics are important for them, for their future, and not just as baseball players, but as human beings.''
Falling behind big wasn't anything new to the Bears, either.
They trailed Kamehameha Maui 8-0 after the top of the first inning of the Maui Interscholastic League championship on April 24, but chipped away, getting four runs back in the bottom of the inning before another 10 in the third en route to a stunning 18-8, five-inning victory for the overall title.
Viela said that after the top of the first on Saturday, which took 35 minutes, his team conjured memories of that comeback.
''When the kids came in after that defensive inning, I listened to how they were talking to the rest of the boys, and they said, exactly what they said is, 'We've been here before. We know how to deal with this. Let's do it,' '' he said. ''The goal from then on was just cut it in half. We put up a two-spot, which is great. Being down 8-0, 10-0, we would rather be down eight runs. That was promising.
''But right after that, great pitching on Punahou's part kind of silenced our bats and we didn't have the big hit in the first inning that we could have made a run for it, too.''
Instead, the Bears turned to defense, making a handful of sizzling plays in the field in preventing the damage from getting even worse.
With one out in the second, center fielder Ceejay Santos fielded a base hit by Ryan Yamane and gunned down Jeremy Ioane at the plate, his throw sailing all the way to catcher Daniel Kinoshita, who gloved it, withstood a collision by Ioane and held onto the ball.
Later that inning, third baseman Rahni Pantorilla made a spectacular stab to his left on a sharp grounder off the bat of David Eldredge before firing to first baseman James Uwekoolani, who performed a split in trying to catch the ball before Eldredge could beat it out, which he did by a split second.
''Baldwin was a tough team, Both teams are great teams,'' said Punahou sophomore Rick Nomura. ''I appreciate Baldwin for playing us and playing us tough.''
Santos exhibited a strong desire on the other side of the ball, too, sliding headfirst into first base for a single.
And despite the game being out of hand, senior pitcher Brock Shishido retired six of the final seven Punahou batters in giving his team a chance.
''It was an honor playing against them,'' said Buffanblu leadoff hitter Michael Suiter.
Punahou coach Eric Kadooka also was impressed with the Bears' effort.
''They came right back at us,'' he said. ''It's a tribute to them as a team and their heart and their ability to just battle.''
''You just got to have heart,'' he said, ''fight to the end, it's not over till it's over.''
Matthew Carroll is at email@example.com