Bears take opener vs. Sabers

Baldwin capitalizes on errors in 11-0 victory

Baldwin High School’s Bubba Varner hits an RBI single during the third inning of the Bears’ 11-0, six-inning victory over Maui High on Thursday afternoon at Maehara Stadium. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

WAILUKU — Nainoa Keahi and his Baldwin High School baseball teammates were ready to play.

The Bears, ranked No. 1 in the state by two publications and No. 21 in the nation by USA Today, returned from a bye week and swamped Maui High 11-0 in six innings at Maehara Stadium on a rainy Thursday.

Kaipo Haole pitched five innings, allowing two hits, walked one and struck out five, all looking, to pick up the win on the mound.

Baldwin improved to 7-0 behind an eight-hit attack, half of which went for extra bases. The defending state champion Sabers fell to 4-3 after committing seven errors, and pitcher Mikito Barkman walked six — all of whom scored — and uncorked four wild pitches.

“That’s a good baseball team over there, Mikito’s a great pitcher, we were able to capitalize early,” Baldwin coach Shane Dudoit said. “The errors gave us a good comfortable lead. They’re never out of it. They’re a great enough team that they could come back at any time, so we needed to keep scoring runs.”

Bears starter Kaipo Haole pitches in the first inning.

Keahi scored three times, smacked a standup triple to the wall in center field and walked up on a post-game interview with Dudoit with a large smile on his face.

“We just came out here, do what we do, let Maui High play and let us play,” Keahi said. “We practice hard, so everybody knows what we have to do. Everybody’s got their own responsibility. We just came out here to play, play our own ball.”

The Bears were playing their first game since March 26.

“We were hungry, we couldn’t wait,” Keahi said.

The Bears took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first on four walks, two errors and three wild pitches. A hot bouncer off the bat of Bubba Hoopii-Tuionetoa that skipped off the glove of Maui High third baseman Micah Saki for an error plated the final two runs.

Baldwin’s Nainoa Keahi rounds second base on his way to a third-inning triple Thursday.

The Bears pushed the lead to 6-0 with single runs in the third and fourth innings.

Keahi led off the third with his towering triple that bounced to the wall in center field — he scored on a single by Bubba Varner one out later.

In the fourth, Bobby Drayer scored on a wild pitch.

Varner’s two-run double in the fifth made it 8-0 — he took third on an error before scoring on a groundout by Hoopii-Tuionetoa to push the lead to 9-0.

Baldwin scored its final two runs on errors in the sixth.

“Maui High is a better team than what they showed today,” Dudoit said. “Unfortunately they made errors, as we all do. It’s just tougher with runners in scoring position.”

Maui High coach Leonard Barcoma Jr. said his team will look to bounce back in the next two games against the Bears today and Saturday.

“Seven errors and only two hits, we can’t do that — not against Baldwin,” Barcoma said. “All the games are meaningful, but these hurt. We need to take at least one of these three, but against No. 1 in the state, we can’t play this kind of ball.

“We’re inexperienced a little bit, but I just needed to do a better job of getting them prepared.”

• Robert Collias is at

Baldwin 401 132–11 8 0

Maui High 000 000– 0 2 7

Kaipo Haole, Jacob Chong (6) and Cade Kalehuawehe; Mikito Barkman and Hauoli Caliva. W–Haole. L–Barkman. 2B–Baldwin: Chayce Akaka, Kalehuawehe, Bubba Varner. 3B–Baldwin: Nainoa Keahi.

Leading hitters–Baldwin: Varner 2-3, run, 3 RBIs.

MIL Standings

Division I

W L Pct. GB

Baldwin 7 0 1.000 —

KS Maui 6 1 .857 1

Maui High 4 3 .571 3

King Kekaulike 3 7 .300 5 1⁄2

Lahainaluna 0 9 .000 8

Division II

W L Pct. GB

Seabury Hall 5 0 1.000 —

Molokai 4 0 1.000 1⁄2

Lanai 0 4 .000 4 1⁄2

St. Anthony 0 5 .000 4

Thursday’s Results

Molokai vs. Lanai, ppd.

Baldwin 11, Maui High 0, 6 innings

Kamehameha Maui 6, King Kekaulike 4, 5 innings (game called due to rain)

Today’s Games

St. Anthony vs. Lanai at Maui High, 3:30 p.m.

Seabury Hall vs. Molokai at Eddie Tam Field, 3:30 p.m.

Kamehameha Maui vs. King Kekaulike at Maehara Stadium, 3:30 p.m.

Baldwin vs. Maui High at Maehara Stadium, 5:30 p.m.