WAILUKU - If there is one thing that Maui Interscholastic League baseball coaches agree upon, it is that errors will prevent wins.
The point was proved as Baldwin High School clinched its third straight MIL Division I pennant on Saturday with a 4-3 win over Maui High in the MIL tournament championship game at Maehara Stadium.
The Sabers committed five errors that made all four of the Bears' runs unearned. Baldwin committed two errors, one of which started the Sabers' three-run third and made all of those runs unearned.
Branden Kaupe of Baldwin High School bats in the fifth inning Saturday at Maehara Stadium.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Baldwin players celebrate after their title-clinching win over Maui High on Saturday.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
"The errors were key," Baldwin coach Jon Viela said. "Their inning was started off by an error and I tell you all the time, 'The team that takes care of the ball will be successful.' We cannot stress enough to our kids how important it is."
Sabers coach Lee Yonamine, whose team lost to the Bears for the 11th time in a row over the last three seasons, could only nod his head in agreement.
"We have this conversation all the time - every inning that they scored we had at least one error, at least," Yonamine said. "That is how it is - we talked about this same thing yesterday."
Both teams will be at the state tournament, which begins May 8 on Oahu.
Maui High clinched its state berth Friday with a 5-1 win over King Kekaulike - Na Alii committed four errors and the Sabers none in that game.
On Saturday, the tables turned on Maui High.
The Bears took advantage of three early errors to take a 3-0 lead after three innings.
Patrick Burrows reached on a two-out error in the second, took third on a single by Evan Kailiehu and scored on the front end of a double steal. In the third, Akoni Arriaga walked to lead off, stole second base and scored two outs later on a play that had two errors on a ball hit by Branden Kaupe - who moved all the way to third, and then scored on Isaiah Maddela's single.
The Sabers came right back to tie the game in the top of the fourth with the help of a Baldwin error that began the frame. Bryson Galicinao hit a bases-loaded groundout to score a run, Jordan Yagi-Kawaha walked to reload the bases and Jacob Tiu followed with a two-run single to tie the game at 3-3.
That appeared to rejuvenate Alistair Reynolds, who lost an eight-inning decision that clinched the regular-season title for the Bears last week. Reynolds struck out the side in order in the fourth - all on called third strikes.
In the fifth, however, two more errors cost the Sabers again. Aaron Victorino singled with one out, then scooted all the way to third base on a offline pickoff throw by Reynolds, the second time that happened in the game. Kaupe then singled to left to make it 4-3.
"Coach tells us every day about how we need to execute," Kaupe said. "Like, if the other team makes errors then we need to really bounce on that because if it happens to us then other teams bounce on us. So we might as well execute on our part."
The Bears welcomed back Anoai Moe-Keahi to the mound after grade difficulties had cost him all of the league season until Saturday's finale.
Moe-Keahi relieved Troy Shishido in the fourth and promptly allowed two inherited runners to score when he gave up two walks and Tiu's two-run single in the first three hitters, but he settled down from there to pitch 3 1/3 scoreless innings and get the win.
"Anoai is a pitcher that we can trust," Kaupe said. "He has been out, but he has been working hard every day with us and we know what he can do and we have his back. He is a big player on our team. He worked extra hard because he knew he had a lot to work back for."
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Alistair Reynolds and T.J. Molina, Jaylen Suda (5). Troy Shishido, Anoai Moe-Keahi (4) and Isaiah Maddela. W-Moe-Keahi. L-Reynolds. 2B-Maui High, Mark Karaviotis, Jeth Bacongco.