Williams leads Na Koa sweep
WAILUKU – Jeremy Williams made sure Saturday was quite a send-off for Na Koa Ikaika Maui.
Two come-from-behind victories over the Hawaii Stars fueled by Williams’ bat, combined with a loss by league-leading San Rafael, moved Na Koa within two games of first in the Pacific Association at the end of an 18-game homestand in front of about 1,200 fans at Maehara Stadium.
Maui (36-18), which leaves today for a six-game set in Japan, won the first game 5-4 on Williams’ walk-off two-run single down the third-base line and his two-run single in the second game gave Maui the lead on the way to an 11-3 victory.
Williams finished the day 3-for-7 with four RBIs, lifting his average to .302 and his RBI total to 36, second-best on the team.
“Coming up in another big situation, I had to sit down and wait on the right pitch that I could drive because the game was on the line,” said Williams, a former farmhand for the Pittsburgh Pirates. “Make sure that I could get it through if I’m going to swing. I just thank God for coming through and me having the patience to do so.”
In the second game, Williams smacked his two-run single to left field to score Kalaika Kahoohalahala and Waylen Sing Chow. Charlie Mirabal walked and later scored on an RBI single by Ray Serrano to make it 3-1.
Maui upped the lead to 7-1 in the fourth when Jimmy Rohan led off with a single and scored on a double to left by Nick Valdez. Kahoohalahala followed with a line-drive RBI double that hit the chalk on the left-field line just beyond third base, stole third and scored on a groundout by Brandon Gregorich. Later, Mirabal walked, stole second and scored on Williams’ single.
With two outs in the fifth, Valdez tripled to right and scored on a wild pitch to make it 8-1.
After Hawaii (21-30) scored twice in the sixth against Jesse Smith, Serrano singled home Mirabal, who doubled to lead off the Maui sixth. Valdez then singled in two more to finish the second game 3-for-3 with three RBIs, two runs and a home run short of hitting for the cycle.
Na Koa finished the homestand 13-5 and end the home season with a four-game series with the Stars from Aug. 14-17.
In the second game, Hawaii’s Marshall McDonald hit Eri Yoshida’s first pitch of the second inning over the fence in left field. It was the only run allowed in five innings for Yoshida, who is also known as the “Knuckle Princess.” She gave up two hits with two walks, two strikeouts and one hit batsman.
“The bats came out today, Eri pitched a great game, we love watching her do well and we love to back her up, so it was a great day,” Maui manager Jeff Brooks said.
Maui gave up a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning of the first game when Tyler Korbetzky knocked in a pair, but won the game in the bottom half in walk-off fashion on Williams’ RBI single.
D.J. Dixon walked to lead off and Kahoohalahala bunted, but the Stars forced out pinch runner Valdez at second. Sing Chow reached on an error and Mirabal singled to load the bases.
Kahoohalahala scored on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Gregorich to tie the game at 4-4.
Maui closer Chris Mobley (2-0) picked up the win despite giving up the two runs in the top of the seventh.
The second game marked the final appearance in a professional uniform for Hawaii first-base coach and backup catcher Dane Sardinha, a former major leaguer and Kamehameha Schools Kapalama graduate. He called it a season for the Stars, who go to Japan today with Maui.
Williams’ wife Kenzlie was recently on Maui for two weeks and she received a nursing job offer in Wailuku, making it a likely possibility that Williams will be back with Na Koa next year. First, however, will come his first trip to Japan.
“I’m ready to go, it is going to be very exciting,” Williams said. “We know we are going to have to come with our ‘A’ game every day. They are really athletic and play the game hard, the right way it is supposed to be played.”
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org
MAUI 5, HAWAII 4, FIRST GAME
Hawaii ….. 100 ….. 100 ….. 2-4 ….. 9 ….. 1
Maui …….. 000 ….. 210 ….. 2-5 ….. 6 ….. 1
Ronny Loeffler, Courtney Aruda (6), Roberto Feliciano (7), Tony York (7) and Tyler Krobetzky; Matt Walker, Chris Mobley (7) and D.J. Dixon. W-Mobley (2-0). L-York (1-1). 2B-Hawaii: Katsuaki Furuki, Krobetzky; Maui: Waylen Sing Chow.
Maui 11, Hawaii 3, Second game
Hawaii ….. 010 ….. 002 …… 0-3 ……. 5 ….. 0
Maui …….. 003 ….. 413 ….. x-11 ….. 11 ….. 0
John Holley, Michael Kenui (6) and Brenden Davis; Eri Yoshida, Jesse Smith (6) and Nick Valdez. W-Yoshida (2-3). L-Holley (0-3). 2B-Maui: Valdez, Kalaika Kahoohalahala, Charlie Mirabal. 3B-Maui: Valdez. HR-Hawaii: Marshall McDonald (4).