WAILUKU - The Baldwin High School baseball team welcomed Noah Apolo back to the starting rotation Thursday night in the Bears' invitational baseball tournament at Maehara Stadium.
The reigning Maui Interscholastic League Division I Player of the Year was stellar after missing a couple of starts in the preseason slate, pitching four shutout innings in a 6-2 win over Maryknoll. Michael Hooper and Makana Victorine finished on the mound.
Baldwin broke the game open with a five-run seventh inning.
Baldwin High School’s Nawai Ah Yen hits a third-inning single during a 6-2 victory over Maryknoll on Thursday at Maehara Stadium.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Baldwin’s Noah Apolo, who missed two preseason tournaments with shoulder stiffness, pitched four scoreless innings in a 6-2 win over Maryknoll.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
It was Apolo's second start of the preseason, but first since a loss against Iolani three weeks ago. He sat out the last two preseason tournaments after experiencing shoulder stiffness against the Raiders.
"I felt all right, good to be back on the field," Apolo said. "My fastball and curveball were good and I went to the change just when I had to. I feel like the shoulder is getting better going into the season."
In the top of the third, the Bears took a 1-0 lead after Nawai Ah Yen led off with an infield single, took second on a groundout and Haloa Dudoit beat out a pretty bunt down the third-base line to put runners on first and third. Makana Richardson's groundout to first base scored Ah Yen.
Maryknoll, the defending Division II state champion, got a pair of hits in the first and then threatened again in the fourth, but Apolo threw out pinch runner Tayloe Hoe at third after he rounded the bag too far for the second out. Apolo ended the threat by getting Phillip Aylward to ground out to shortstop.
Hooper, a junior, relieved Apolo to start the fifth after the senior left-hander allowed three hits, struck out two batters and walked none. Hooper pitched a perfect fifth and a scoreless sixth.
The Baldwin defense committed just one error.
"I have to thank my teammates," said Apolo, who this week will choose between attending the University of Hawaii-Hilo or a pair of California junior colleges. "If it wasn't for them, then I can't do anything. This gives us confidence, we just have to practice hard"
Skyelor Ishikawa led off the Baldwin sixth with an infield single, Dudoit sacrificed him to second and Richardson moved Ishikawa to third with a sharp groundout to second. Isaiah Maddela struck out to end the threat.
Jedd Andrade walked to lead off the Maryknoll sixth, but Hooper struck out Justin Ushio after falling behind 3-0. Andrade stole second and Josh Muneno grounded out to move Andrade to third, but Jason Nakamura flew out to left to end the inning.
Patrick Turner led off the Bears' five-run seventh with a hit to left field and took second on a wild pick-off attempt. Hooper grounded out to shortstop to move Turner to third with one out. Joshua Nobriga delivered the first insurance run with a bouncer to right that got through a drawn-in infield.
Shadd Santos put runners on first and second when he reached on an error. Ah Yen singled to left to load the bases and Ishikawa smacked a line-drive two-run single to right to make it 4-0.
Another run scored when Dudoit's grounder was booted and pinch-hitter Linden Kanamu hit an RBI single to make it 6-0.
"Noah was coming off some stiffness in his shoulder and we decided to rest him for a couple weeks," Baldwin coach Jon Viela said. "It's a long season and a long preseason. Noah - you know from his past history how competitive he is, the level that he pitches at - so we hold him to high standards, nothing less than that. The outing he had tonight was nice to see, but it wasn't something shocking to us."
After Victorine relieved Hooper, the Spartans got their first three runners on via walk in the bottom of the seventh. Victorine got back-to-back groundouts that knocked in runs and ended the game by getting Andrade to pop out.
Maryknoll coach Randy Yamashiro was impressed with Apolo.
"Real tough, real tough," Yamashiro said. "He mixes up his pitches, good curveball, good fastball. He is going to be tough in D-I."
The Spartans, of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, are annual visitors to the Baldwin tournament.
"As always, they are going to be tough," Yamashiro said. "Without a doubt, this tournament is going to help us be ready for the ILH. We are happy to be here, very appreciative of Jon Viela inviting us here every year. Playing a team like Baldwin, tremendous, I love it."
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
BALDWIN 6, MARYKNOLL 2
Baldwin ........ 001 ..... 000 ..... 5-6 ..... 9 ..... 1
Maryknoll ..... 000 ..... 000 ..... 2-2 ..... 3 ..... 3
Noah Apolo, Michael Hooper (5), Makana Victorine (7) and Victorine, Kawena Alo-Kaonohi (7); Chase Uyema, Josh Muneno (7), Justin Ushio (7) and J.R. Nakasone. W-Apolo. L-Uyema.
Leading hitters-Baldwin, Nawai Ah Yen 2-3, 2 runs; Joshua Nobriga 2-3, run, RBI; Skyelor Ishikawa 2-3, run. Maryknoll, Jedd Andrade 2-3.
WAIANAE 3, MOLOKAI 2
Molokai ....... 200 ..... 000 ..... 0-2 ..... 4 ..... 2
Waianae ..... 012 ..... 000 ..... x-3 ..... 7 ..... 1
Nohi Meyer, Aaron Rapanot (6) and Levi Horner-Villa; Jerzy Ramento-Acosta, Kekoa Kaluhiokalani (6) and Darion Domingo. W-Ramento-Acosta. L-Meyer. S-Kaluhioka-lani. 2B-Waianae: Kaluhiokalani, Tavita Lalau. 3B-Molokai: Horner-Villa.
Leading hitters-Molokai: Horner-Villa 2-3, run, RBI. Waianae: Kaluhiokalani 2-4, run; Tavita 2-3, run, RBI.
KAISER 9, KING KEKAULIKE 0
Kaiser .................... 141 ..... 012 ..... 0-9 ..... 12 ..... 1
King Kekaulike ..... 000 ..... 000 ..... 0-0 ...... 2 ..... 3
Noah Sakatani, Chase Hisatake (6) and Kelan Yoshioka, Sakatani (6); Beanie Howden, Stone Hashizaki (6), Ryder Souza (7) and Reid Yonamine. W-Sakatani. L-Howden. 2B-Kaiser: Luis Omphroy 2, Michael Austin, Hisatake. 3B-Kaiser: Yoshioka.
Leading hitters-Kaiser: Omphroy 2-3, run, 2 RBIs; Yoshioka 2-2, 2 runs; 2 RBIs; Aaron Oda 2-3, run; Dylan Buck 2-2, 2 runs; Michael Austin RBI; Hisatake run, RBI.
SAINT LOUIS 7, MAUI HIGH 5
Saint Louis ..... 400 ..... 000 ..... 3-7 ..... 8 ..... 4
Maui High ....... 110 ..... 000 ..... 3-5 ..... 6 ..... 4
Pono Anderson, Jacob Morey (5), Peyton Oshiro (7) and Rayson Romero; Callen Beeson, Kyle Oshiro (7) and Jacob Tiu. W-Anderson. L-Beeson. 2B-Maui High: Tiu, Chris Medeiros. 3B-Saint Louis: Jacob Gibbin.
Leading hitters-Saint Louis: Devin Stubblefield 2-4; Gibbin 2-4. Maui High: Chazz Ishikawa 2-2.
At Maui High School
Kauai 9, Lahainaluna 3
Waipahu 5, Kamehameha Maui 4