Maui High moves into quarterfinals
WAILUKU – Now, the Maui High School baseball team can take a deep breath.
The Sabers advanced to the quarterfinals of the Wally Yonamine Foundation Division I State Championship with an oh-so-close 4-3 win over Pearl City on Wednesday night at Maehara Stadium.
Maui High (12-4) will play third-seeded Campbell today.
Going to the top of the seventh inning with a two-run lead, Mark Karaviotis came on for starter Micah Isagawa, who lived on the edge in an up-and-down outing in front of a solid defense.
“I came in there, you know, Micah pitched a good game,” said Karaviotis, regularly a shortstop. “I couldn’t let this one go.”
It almost did get away, though.
Karaviotis, who is headed to Oregon on a baseball scholarship, recorded the save after two one-out walks and an infield single loaded the bases and another walk to Kamalu Neal brought in the game’s final run.
Karaviotis then went to a full count on Kyle Tom, who eventually chopped a high bouncer to Isagawa, now at first base.
Isagawa fired high to home plate, but catcher Jaylan Suda snagged the ball, dove back and got his glove on the plate just before Colby Hirano touched it.
Karaviotis then struck out Sean Milan to end the game.
“That was a big league-type play,” Karaviotis said of Suda’s game-saver. “High throw, he came down, he knew exactly where the plate was and came through for us. I wouldn’t want to be in any other situation than that.”
The Sabers used small ball in the second inning to score all their runs.
Chazz Ishikawa, the only Maui High player with two hits, singled, as did Jacob Tiu before Suda reached on an error to load the bases.
Sammy Sutton put down a squeeze bunt to score a run – and leave the bases loaded when the throw home was late. Dustin Kokubun then walked on four pitches, T.J. Molina lofted a sacrifice fly to right field and Sutton scored on the front end of a double steal.
The Chargers took a 1-0 lead in the second. Milan doubled to left field and scored on a two-out single by Kaneshiro.
Isagawa walked four batters, struck out two and picked off two runners.
The Chargers put leadoff runners on in four of the first six innings, but the Sabers played near-flawless defense and erased one of those in the fifth with a double play started by Tiu at second base. Sutton, the starting first baseman, finished the fifth with a diving stop on a sharp grounder by Matt Tsutomi – Sutton had four unassisted putouts in the first five innings.
Pearl City finally cashed in a leadoff runner in the sixth on Shaye Higa’s one-out RBI single. The Sabers ended the rally with another double play.
“Pearl City is a scrappy bunch and they proved it to-night,” said Maui High coach Chase Corniel. “The state tournament is about making plays, and execution. You play catch, take care of the ball, good things happen.”
The Chargers had 14 runners reach base in the first six innings. Tanner Tokunaga finished with two hits.
“That was a hell of a ballgame, two good teams, you cannot ask for anything more,” said Pearl City coach Mitch Yamato. “That was our season all along, down to one game, losing by one run, that’s how it ends.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Tanner Tokunaga, Sean Milan (6) and Kamalu Neal; Micah Isagawa, Mark Karaviotis (7) and Jaylan Suda. W-Isagawa. L-Tokuanaga. Sv-Karaviotis. 2B-Pearl City: Sean Milan.