Farmers rally for title
WAILUKU – Things looked bleak for the Molokai High School baseball team going to the bottom of the seventh inning Friday night at Maehara Stadium in the Maui Interscholastic League Division II tournament final.
Then, the Farmers came to bat.
A five-run, nine-batter final frame ended in a 10-9 victory when Nohi Meyer smacked a towering ball to the wall in center field to plate the walk-off run. Molokai clinched the MIL’s lone berth to the D-II state tournament with the victory.
“It feels good to come back and do it for my team,” said Meyer, who was on the mound to start the game and pitched into the fifth. “We had confidence.”
Kahanu Alcon, Levi Horner-Villa and Ena Victorino also singled for the Farmers (8-0) in the final inning.
The Spartans’ Kaleb Palmer moved from catcher to the mound four batters into the game. His 148th pitch was the ball Meyer hit for the game-winner.
“That was a good game, both sides played hard,” Seabury coach John Plunkett said. “Both sides battled, it was a terrific game. Both sides played the best they could, it was good for the fans. Somebody has to win and somebody has to cross that line.”
Through six innings, the Spartans were clinging to a 6-5 lead despite being outhit 8-2 – they took advantage of five Farmers errors in the first four innings.
Seabury added three more hits in the top of the seventh, including an RBI single by Mogul Luuwai. Henry Hegele, the No. 9 hitter, followed with a two-run double.
It wasn’t enough to hold off the Farmers. Molokai coach Mike McCutcheon had to take his son, Brayden Willing-McCutcheon, off the mound in the seventh inning due to an apparent arm injury.
“It just shows the boys have great poise and they stuck with it,” McCutcheon said. “I have kind of mixed emotions right now. My son heard a pop in his arm, so that’s kind of hard to deal with. We are going to try to get him squared away right after this. Up and down.”
Seabury Hall took a 1-0 lead in the first – Tyler Gentile led off the game with a single and later scored on an error.
Molokai went up 2-1 in the bottom of the inning on a two-run single by Trevor Takata.
The Spartans came right back with three runs in the second, when they sent nine batters to the plate. Gentile had a two-run single and another run scored on an error.
Molokai tied the game in the third on Victorino’s two-run single.
Seabury took a 6-4 lead in the fourth on an RBI groundout by Palmer and a sacrifice fly by Cayde Omura.
The Farmers cut their deficit to one in the fifth when Horner-Villa hit an RBI single to score Takata, who led off the inning with an infield single.
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Keanu Catugal, Kaleb Palmer (1) and Palmer, Noah Walin (1); Nohi Meyer, Brayden Willing-McCutcheon (5), Ena Victorino (7) and Trevor Takata. W-Victorino. L-Palmer. 2B-Seabury Hall: Henry Hegele.
Leading hitters-Seabury Hall: Tyler Gentile 2-4, 2 runs. Molokai: Takata 2-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs.