Bears close with win over Sabers

Baldwin outscored opponents 87-10 while going 11-1 in MIL regular season

Baldwin High School’s Nainoa Keahi catches a foul ball over catcher Cade Kalehuawehe during the first inning of the Bears’ 4-3 victory over Maui High on Thursday at Maehara Stadium. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

WAILUKU — The Baldwin High School baseball team surrendered three runs for the first time in Maui Interscholastic League play this year, but the Bears survived for a 4-3 victory over Maui High in the final game of the Division I regular season Thursday evening at Maehara Stadium.

The game was a make-up of a contest that was rained out three times after being originally scheduled for April 7.

“We were trying to get everybody in the game tonight and we were able to do that,” Baldwin coach Shane Dudoit said after his team wrapped up an 11-1 run through the MIL by outscoring opponents 87-10. “Some kids come to practice every day and give us all they got. I wanted to get them in the game. It’s the seniors’ last (regular) season game, so we started all the seniors tonight. It’s all good.”

The Bears broke on top in the fourth when Nainoa Keahi walked with one out and scored two batters later on a bloop single to right field by Isaiah Kusunoki.

The Bears pulled off a double steal in the fifth, pushing the lead to 2-0 when Chayce Akaka scampered home after Reyn Okita drew a throw to second on a steal. Keahi smacked a double on one bounce to the wall in left field to score Okita and make it 3-0.

Sabers second baseman Kory Shirota fields a throw as Baldwin’s Chayce Akaka steals second in the third inning.

Baldwin pulled off another double steal to up the lead to 4-0 in the top of the sixth when Kusunoki scored after he reached on an infield single.

The Sabers (5-7) cut the deficit in the bottom half of the inning on Kamahao Ching’s two-out, three-run double to deep left field. Pinch-hitter Donnie Archer followed with a single to left to put runners on the corners, but Akaka — the third of four Baldwin pitchers — got out of the jam with a comebacker to the mound by Christian Lee.

The Bears will open the MIL tournament next week in search of their ninth straight MIL pennant — they play in a semifinal Thursday against the winner of Wednesday’s game between Lahainaluna and King Kekaulike. Maui High faces Kamehameha Maui in a semifinal Friday.

The tournament championship game is Saturday.

The Sabers are playing under interim head coach Brent Fukagawa, who took over after first-year head coach Leonard Barcoma Jr. resigned for personal reasons earlier this month.

Maui High was in the same third-seeded spot for the MIL tournament last season, when the Sabers survived and went on to win the state title.

“This is a good sign,” Fukagawa said. “Proud of our kids — we had a game plan going into this week for actually the next coming weeks. We’re looking forward to the tournament. We knew no matter win or lose tonight we were locked into that third spot. I preach to the kids: ‘We play hard. We go to win all the time.’ That’s what we preach to these kids, to go play hard at all times.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

Baldwin 000 121 0–4 10 1

Maui High 000 003 0–3 6 1

Roy Meinen, Bubba Hoopii-Tuionetoa (4), Chayce Akaka (5), Adam Yamashita (7) and Cade Kalehuawehe; Trestan Carter, Aizeah Lakalaka (7) and Hauoli Caliva. W–Meinen. L–Carter. Sv–Yamashita. 2B–Baldwin: Nainoa Keahi; Maui High: Kamahao Ching.

Leading hitters–Baldwin: Reyn Okita 2-3, run; Akaka 2-3, run; Bubba Varner 2-3; Isaiah Kusunoki 2-3, run. Maui High: Ching 2-3, 3 RBIs.

MIL Standings

Division I

W L Pct. GB

x-Baldwin 11 1 .917 —

KS Maui 9 3 .750 2

Maui High 5 7 .417 6

King Kekaulike 3 9 .250 8

Lahainaluna 2 10 .167 9

Division II

W L Pct. GB

Molokai 6 0 1.000 —

Seabury Hall 6 0 1.000 —

Lanai 0 6 .000 6

St. Anthony 0 6 .000 6

x-clinched regular-season championship

Thursday’s Results

Kamehameha Maui 7, King Kekaulike 1

Baldwin 4, Maui High 3

Today’s Games

Seabury Hall at Molokai, 10 a.m.

Seabury Hall at Molokai, 3:30 p.m.

St. Anthony at Lanai, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday’s Games

Seabury Hall at Molokai, 10 a.m.

St. Anthony at Lanai, 10 a.m.

St. Anthony at Lanai, 12:30 p.m.

End of regular season

MIL TOURNAMENTS

At Maehara Stadium

Wednesday’s Game

D-I play-in: King Kekaulike vs. Lahainaluna, 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 26

D-II semifinals, 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.

D-I semifinal: Baldwin vs. King Kekaulike-Lahainaluna winner, 5:30 p.m.

Friday, April 27

D-I semifinal: Kamehameha Maui vs. Maui High, 3:30 p.m.

D-II final, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 28

D-II overall championship, if necessary, 10 a.m.

D-I final, noon

Tuesday, May 1

D-I overall championship or second-place playoff, if necessary, 5:30 p.m.

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