WAILUKU - Kalei Hendershot has seen a lot as part of the Seabury Hall baseball team, so when the call came this week with a shot at the first Maui Interscholastic League title in school history, the senior right-hander wasn't about to let an illness stand in the way.
Hendershot recovered from a shaky start to go the distance in a 10-4 win over Molokai at Maehara Stadium on Friday night, putting MIL Division II gold medals around the Spartans' necks and sending them to their first state tournament next month.
"I don't know what to say, I'm sort of speechless right now," Hendershot said. "I don't know, this team is just so good. This team, this defense behind me. I mean I was struggling pitching today and this defense really helped me out."
Kalei Hendershot of Seabury Hall pitches during the first inning of the Spartans’ 10-4 win over Molokai on Friday at Maehara Stadium.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
The offense did, too.
After Molokai put up three runs in the top of the first, Seabury rebounded for five runs on three hits and three walks in the bottom of the inning.
Four Molokai pitchers combined to walk 11 batters, while Hendershot struck out six and walked three.
"That was real big because we haven't been behind too much this season," Hendershot said of the early comeback. "To come back and help me out, that was really big."
Hendershot allowed only one run and four hits after the first, two days after he pitched four shutout innings in a 13-0, five-inning win for the regular-season title.
"That gives us a lot of confidence to go to state," Hendershot said. "Molokai every year brings out a good team, they are scrappy and it gives us great confidence going into states."
John Plunkett, the Seabury Hall coach for the entire 18-year history of the program, had a wide smile on his face after nailing down the elusive pennant.
"This is big, but then again, I just say, Molokai is a good team," Plunkett said. "Molokai is a solid team, they play hard, it was just our night."
Seabury Hall catcher Kaleb Palmer perhaps had the two biggest of the Spartans' seven hits - a two-run single in the first to give them a 4-3 lead and an RBI single in the sixth after Molokai climbed within 7-4.
Hendershot was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI on Friday, making him 5-for-8 with a double and three runs against the Farmers this week.
"Seabury has a good club," Molokai coach Mike McCutcheon said. "We didn't play to our ability, kicked the ball around a little bit, but I thought Kalei did an awesome job tonight."
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Nohi Meyer, Kaio Kalawe (4), Brayden Willing-McCutcheon (5), Maka Puaa-Aki (7) and Trevor Takata. Kalei Hendershot and Kaleb Palmer. W-Hendershot. L-Meyer. 2B-Seabury Hall, Tyler Gentile, Travis Mrantz.
Leading hitters-Seabury Hall, Hendershot 2-4, run, RBI; Palmer 2-3, run, 3 RBIs.