Apolo nearly perfect in Baldwin’s 7-1 win
WAILUKU – These outings are becoming a habit for Baldwin High School’s Noah Apolo. This time, however, it was almost perfect.
The 5-foot-11, 225-pound junior left-hander retired the first 15 batters he faced in a 7-1 win over Kamehameha Maui on Thursday at Maehara Stadium.
Brennon Aloy broke up the perfecto with a clean single up the middle to start the sixth on a 3-1 count and Cal Alexander added a similar roller up the middle with two outs in the frame.
The Warriors added a run in the seventh against Akoni Arriaga after Apolo went six innings of two-hit, no-run ball with six strikeouts and zero walks.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Apolo sent a blast over the left-field wall for the first home run of the Maui Interscholastic League Division I season, completing a 3-for-3 day at the plate.
“I was feeling strong,” Apolo said. “My defense does a lot for me. When the team gets hits, they back me up and they get the outs – that’s what you have got to do, that’s why they are there.”
Two weeks ago, Apolo (3-0) threw a five-inning no-hitter against King Kekaulike. The only run he has given up in 16 innings of MIL play came in a five-inning outing against King Kekaulike on Monday.
After two days of rest, he was basically untouchable for five innings Thursday. A nice over-the-head, running grab by center fielder Dalton Cabacungan for the first out of the third and a nifty play by second baseman Lane Kashiwamura to end the fourth were the only balls that had a chance to get out of the infield in that span.
“In the bullpen, I was trying my pitches and seeing which ones I could throw for strikes and the fastball and the curveball were on,” Apolo said.
Rainouts have allowed him to win three games for the Bears (7-0), ranked third in the Star-Advertiser top-10 poll.
The home run brought a big smile to Apolo’s face.
“Yeah, I just threw out my hands and it was gone,” he said. “It was a curveball and I guess I timed it right.”
The Bears took a 3-0 lead in the second when Apolo singled over the glove of shortstop T.J. Kanamu. Courtesy runner Micah Richardson was sacrificed to second, and moved to third on a groundout by Makana Victorine. After Arriaga walked, a double steal scored a run.
Two batters later, Aaron Victorino, the No. 9 hitter, smoked a double to plate two.
In the third, Patrick Burrows singled home two and Arriaga delivered an RBI single to make it 6-0.
That was more than enough for Apolo.
“I have been a good family friend for him for a longtime, so I have seen him working hard since grade school,” Baldwin coach Jon Viela said. “He keeps on getting better, getting stronger. We have high expectations for him. His performance didn’t surprise us.”
Kamehameha Maui coach Brandon Kanamu tipped his hat to Apolo.
“He hit his locations and we didn’t hit the ball like we should,” Kanamu said.
The Bears face the Warriors (3-8) today and then play a make-up game with King Kekaulike on Monday before starting their finishing set with Maui High next Thursday.
Viela said he expects Apolo to get the call on Monday and Thursday.
“Like you know and everybody else knows, the Maui High-Baldwin series is really huge,” Viela said. “We will probably have a big crowd and a lot of guys will get into it.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Kaimi Gilliland, Rylie Velez (6) and Tyler Harry; Noah Apolo, Akoni Arriaga (7) and Makana Victorine. W-Apolo, 4-0. L-Gilliland. 2B-Baldwin: Aaron Victorino, Isaiah Maddela. HR-Baldwin: Apolo (1).
Leading hitters-Baldwin: Apolo 3-3, 2 runs, RBI; Patrick Burrows 2-2, 2 RBIs.
* Maui High 9, Lahainaluna 2: At Maehara Stadium, Micah Isagawa pitched six innings and Mark Karaviotis struck out the side in the seventh in a four-hitter to help the Sabers (6-1) remain one game behind Baldwin.
Amateo Flores was 2-for-3 for the Lunas (1-6).
Micah Isagawa, Mark Karaviotis (7) and Jaylen Suda; Akoni Hamilton-Golis and Jacob Mahon. W-Isagawa. L-Hamilton-Golis. 2B-Maui High: Isagawa, Suda, Callen Beeson; Lahainaluna: Amateo Flores.
Leading hitters-Maui High: T.J. Molina 2-4, 2 runs; Karaviots 3-3, 2 runs; Isagawa 2-3, 2 runs; Callen Beeson 3-3, run; Suda 2-2, run; Jacob Tiu 2-3. Lahainaluna: Flores 2-3, run.