Bears start league slate with victory over Lunas
Awai leads defending state champs to win in first game under Dudoit
WAILUKU — The Shane Dudoit era for Baldwin High School baseball began well on Thursday.
The Bears rode the one-hit, complete-game pitching of Damien Awai to a 7-0 win over Lahainaluna at Maehara Stadium in their Maui Interscholastic League opener.
“I felt all right, sore ankle — I’m not going to blame it, but I did what I had to do,” said Awai, a senior who struck out eight batters and walked three. “There’s a lot of confidence on this team, honestly. People just come out and we put out 100 percent and we do what is necessary for the game.”
The defending state champions are ranked No. 1 by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and No. 2 by scoringlive.com after an 8-1 preseason. Dudoit is a former head coach for St. Anthony who was a longtime assistant under Jon Viela, who left in May after nine years at the helm.
“I’m taking over a program that has a storied history,” Dudoit said. “Jonny left me with a good bunch of kids and a really good program. That came from Kahai (Shishido, the current athletic director) originally, so you know I’m just stepping into their shoes and it’s OK. It’s always great to win — Lahainaluna’s a good ballclub.”
The Bears struck for two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Ekolu Watanabe led off with an infield single, stole second, took third on a passed ball and scored on a single to right field by Kaipo Haole, who later came home on a double-play grounder by Cade Kalehuawehe.
They added three more runs in the second. Jacob Chong and Watanabe each singled with two outs, and Haole then hit a fly ball to center that was misplayed, allowing two runs to score before an error on a grounder to third off the bat of Awai allowed Haole to scamper home.
They pushed the lead to 7-0 in the fifth. Kalehuawehe and Nigel Mayfield each singled to start the inning and Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa walked to load the bases. Jacob Chong drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Bobby Drayer walked with the bases loaded.
Watanabe, Mayfield and Kalehuawehe all had two hits for the Bears. Awai threw 87 pitches and faced just 24 batters.
“To get any win in the MIL is a good thing,” Dudoit said. “It’s good for our kids, it’s good to get it out of the way and we’ll go forward from here. I think everyone, the parity in the league is definitely where we want it to be. It’s going to give us some competition throughout the league and it’s going to bring the best out in everybody. That’s a good thing for the league.”
Lahainaluna, coming off a season-opening series sweep by Kamehameha Maui, fell to 0-4.
Lunas coach Manu Kenolio said the Bears deserve all of their accolades.
“They hit, they throw hard, you just have to make plays and try to hit the ball with them,” Kenolio said. “Damien pitched well today. He was effective all over the strike zone, kept us off-balance. We’re young, just struggling. I feel good about our team, we’re doing all right.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com.
Lahainaluna 000 000 0–0 1 3
Baldwin 230 020 x–7 9 0
Raige Bush, Jay-Z Paleka-Wright (4) and Kainalu Kaililaau; Damien Awai and Cade Kalehuawehe. W–Awai. L–Bush.
Leading hitters–Baldwin: Ekolu Watanabe 2-4, 2 runs; Nigel Mayfield 2-3, run; Kalehuawehe 2-4, run.
W L Pct GB
Maui High 4 0 1.000 —
Baldwin 1 0 1.000 1-1⁄2
Kamehameha Maui 3 1 .750 1
King Kekaulike 0 3 .000 3-1⁄2
Lahainaluna 0 4 .000 4
W L Pct GB
Molokai 2 0 1.000 —
Seabury Hall 2 0 1.000 —
Lanai 0 2 .000 2
St. Anthony 0 2 .000 2
Baldwin 7, Lahainaluna 0
Maui High 4, Kamehameha Maui 2
Molokai vs. Seabury Hall at Eddie Tam Field, 3:30 p.m.
St. Anthony vs. Lanai at Maui High, 3:30 p.m.
Kamehameha Maui vs. Maui High at Maehara Stadium, 3:30 p.m.
Lahainaluna vs. Baldwin at Maehara Stadium, 5:30 p.m.
Molokai vs. Seabury Hall at Eddie Tam Field, 10 a.m.
St. Anthony vs. Lanai at Maehara Stadium, 10 a.m.
Lahainaluna vs. Baldwin at Maehara Stadium, noon
Kamehameha Maui vs. Maui High at Maehara Stadium, 2 p.m.