Sabers force showdown after beating Bears 6-4

WAILUKU – For the second night in a row, the tying run was on base in the top of the seventh inning.

For the first time, Mark Karaviotis had the ball and game in his hands.

Karaviotis took the mound for the Maui High School baseball team with two Baldwin runners on and no outs in the sixth, but escaped that predicament and a bases-loaded jam in the seventh with just one run across in a 6-4 win for the Sabers in front of a second straight packed house at Maehara Stadium.

“I pray for situations like this, I live for this,” said Karaviotis, Maui High’s regular shortstop who has signed to play at the University of Oregon next season. “I love it. I just love to come into situations like this and produce for my team.”

The result sends Maui High (9-2) and Baldwin (10-1) to a winner-take-all showdown today at 1:30 p.m. at Maehara Stadium for the Maui Interscholastic League Division I regular-season crown and a berth in next month’s state tournament.

“We have a lot of returnees from last year, the intensity will be there,” Karaviotis said. “Biggest game of the year, must win tomorrow.”

Karaviotis saved Sammy Sutton’s fourth straight win as the Sabers won for the ninth time in 10 games – the lone loss was an 8-7 decision to Baldwin in the opener of this series on Thursday.

Sutton (4-1) gave up two runs in the top of the first inning, which was as many as he had surrendered in 18 previous MIL frames.

The senior then settled down, giving up only one more run after a questionable call in the third inning before Karaviotis came on in the sixth.

“I just lost it, I guess I threw too much, lost my mechanics, but I’m glad I had a guy like Mark to come in behind me and know I could trust him to shut it down,” Sutton said after giving up nine hits and three runs.

He struck out six and walked one, which was intentionally.

On Friday, the Bears had more hits (11-9), but the Sabers came up with the big ones they were missing on Thursday.

Baldwin is the three-time defending league champion. Maui High last won the title in 2009.

“We knew about the circumstances of this game,” Sutton said. “We knew that we had to win in order to preserve that chance to possibly go to states and clinch an automatic state berth. I went into this game just like it was another game.”

The Sabers scored in each of the first five innings, tying the game on an RBI singles by Chazz Ishikawa in the first and Jaylen Suda in the second. The first four runs they scored all came in innings that started with two outs and no runners on.

Ishikawa smoked an RBI double to the right-field wall and then scored on an error in the third to overcome a Baldwin run in the top of the third that scored after what appeared to be a missed call on a tag out by Karaviotis on a rundown play.

In the fourth, Maui High’s T.J. Molina was called out at second base on an inning-ending close play trying to stretch an RBI single that gave Maui High a 5-3 lead.

“We can’t let calls like that get to us,” Karaviotis said. “We just have to play our game, we have no control over that. Stick to our game and do what we can control.”

Both coaches said the bullpens will be open today with a week off before the MIL tournament where the second state berth will be on the line.

“The kids stepped up big for us tonight,” Maui High coach Chase Corniel said. “Sammy stepped up huge, threw a lot of strikes, fought through some innings, man. Then Mark came in and shut the door.”

Maui High made some spectacular plays in the field and has committed just one error in these two games. There was no bigger play that the laser-beam throw right-fielder Callen Beeson made to get Daulton Cabacungan at the plate after an RBI single by Makana Victorine gave the Bears a 3-2 lead in the top of the third. Cabacungan was the runner who appeared to be out on the rundown play earlier in the inning.

“We have been playing good defense for the last couple weeks, our bats have been coming alive, we have been playing good baseball,” said Corniel, who said Jacob Tiu will probably start on the mound today.

Baldwin coach Jon Viela did not have a starter to announce, but has a lot of arms available.

“Maui High has been playing very well – we saw that last night and we saw it again tonight,” Viela said. “You cannot take anybody lightly in the MIL. We have got several guys that we can throw. We have got Pat Turner we can throw, we have got Daulton Cabacungan that we can throw and then we have got Linden Kanamu who beat them in the preseason. We still have Akoni (Arriaga).”

* Robert Collias is at

Baldwin ……… 201 ….. 0000 ….. 1-4 ….. 11 ….. 2

Maui High ….. 112 …….. 110 ….. x-6 ……. 9 ….. 1

Joshua Nobriga, Anoai Moe-Keahi (5) and Makana Victorine; Sammy Sutton, Mark Karaviotis (6) and Jaylen Suda. W-Sutton. L-Nobriga. Sv-Karaviotis. 2B-Maui High: Chazz Ishikawa, Jacob Tiu. 3B-Maui High: Micah Isagawa.

Leading hitters-Baldwin: Lane Kashiwamura 4-4, 3 runs; Daulton Cabacungan 2-4, run; Patrick Burrows 2-3, 2 RBIs; Victorine 2-3, RBI. Maui High: Ishikawa 2-3, 2 RBIs; Suda 2-2, RBI.

* KING KEKAULIKE 6, LAHAINALUNA 4: At Wailuku, Ryley Widell pitched a four-hitter with eight strikeouts and three walks to lead Na Alii over the Lunas.

Reid Yonamine and Zane Jarrett each had a hit and a run for King Kekaulike. Yonamine had a double and Jarrett an RBI.

Kaimana Casco-Deleon, Akoni Hamilton-Golis and Amateo Flores all smacked doubles for Lahainaluna.

King Kekaulike ….. 001 ….. 030 ….. 2-6 ….. 6 ….. 3

Lahainaluna ……… 001 ….. 120 ….. 0-4 ….. 6 ….. 5

Ryley Widell and Reid Yonamine; Falcon Johnson and Jacob Mahon. W-Widell. L-Johnson. 2B-King Kekaulike: Yonamine; Lahainaluna: Kaimana Casco-Deleon, Akoni Hamilton-Golis, Amateo Flores.