Warriors beat Sabers, improve to 4-0
WAILUKU — Konnor Palmeira hadn’t batted leadoff in his life before the last two games for his Kamehameha Schools Maui baseball team.
The strategy worked as Palmeira drove in both runs in the Warriors’ 2-0 win over Maui High in a Maui Interscholastic League Division I game on Thursday afternoon at Maehara Stadium.
The Warriors improved to 4-0 in the MIL, while the Sabers were making their league debut.
“Two games, I mean, it’s just the first at-bat,” said Palmeira, a junior third baseman. “It doesn’t matter to me, but never. I don’t remember ever doing it. Just get on base any way I can — that’s it. I’m not trying to go hit it far, long. Just trying to get on base.”
Palmeira doubled to start the game and was stranded at third base in the first inning, singled in Dana Bui with the first run of the game in the third inning and walked with the bases loaded in the fourth to push the lead to 2-0.
He popped out to the catcher in the seventh, but his offense was enough for the win behind the pitching of sophomore Dylan Almeida, who struck out five and walked one in a complete-game five-hitter.
The Warriors were solid defensively, committing no errors and turning double plays in the fifth and seventh innings.
“I expect him to be dominant every single game he pitches,” Palmeira said of Almeida. “He throws a lot of strikes and I’m very comfortable fielding behind him because we know we’re going to get action and we know that he’s going to get the win every time he pitches.”
Maui High’s Taelen Bates pitched six solid innings for the Sabers, allowing three hits while striking out four and walking five.
“He kept us off-balance and was throwing to where he was supposed to, spotting the ball,” Palmeira said. “We just need to capitalize more when there’s runners in scoring position.”
If the Warriors keep playing like they are, Palmeira says they can make a statement at the state tournament at Maehara Stadium May 8-11.
“This team can be a state-championship winning team, I believe,” Palmeira said. “We’ve just got to work on some things, drive in more runs and I think we’ll be right up there.”
Kamehameha Maui coach Mo Lau Hee would like to see more hits.
“We’ve just got to stay in the race, take it game by game and try to get the win every week,” Lau Hee said. “Maui High is a tough team, their pitcher threw well today, scrappy offensive team and we just put enough runs up there to get the ‘W’ today.”
Lau Hee was happy to see Almeida, his young right-hander, put up a second straight impressive performance on the mound as the Warriors’ No. 1 starting pitcher. He allowed one run and three hits in a complete-game, 3-1 win over King Kekaulike last week.
“Dylan pitched well again,” Lau Hee said. “Two CGs in a row. I mean, he just works ahead, throws strikes and keeps batters off balance.”
Maui High coach Chase Corniel knows that to stay in the 12-game regular-season race, wins are a must from the very beginning.
“We’re still in the game and that’s a positive,” Corniel said. “We came on strong, some guys were swinging the bat good, so we give guys chances and hopefully they come through. Give credit to (the Warriors), they played well.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com.
KS Maui 001 000 0–2 3 0
Maui High 000 000 0–0 5 0
Dylan Almeida and Ross Panlasigui; Taelen Bates, Dylan Kokubun (7) and Keelan Yagi. W–Almeida (2-0). L–Bates (0-1). 2B–Kamehameha Maui: Konnor Palmeira.
Leading hitters–Kamehameha Maui: Palmeira 2-3, 2 RBIs. Maui High: Tyrell Ruiz 2-3.
LAHAINALUNA 9, KING KEKAULIKE 2
Lahainaluna 101 401 2–9 12 4
King Kekaulike 101 000 0–2 3 0
Kamahao Acpal, Anthony Felice (3), Ekolu Mathias (5) and Kealaula Medeiros. Matthew Hackett, Noah Sumibcay (4), T.J. Perkett (5) and Mikey Beesing. W–Felice. L–Hackett. 2B–Lahainaluna: Mathias, Nephi Hong; King Kekaulike: Gavin Grossman.
Leading hitters–Lahainaluna: Mathias 2-3, 3 runs, RBI; Kalewa Kalanikau 2-4, 2 runs; Acpal 2-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; James Smythe 2-3, 4 RBIs.
W L Pct. GB
Kamehameha Maui 4 0 1.000 —
Baldwin 3 0 1.000 1⁄2
Lahainaluna 1 3 .250 3
Maui High 0 1 .000 2 1⁄2
King Kekaulike 0 4 .000 4
W L Pct. GB
Molokai 2 0 1.000 —
Seabury Hall 2 0 1.000 —
Lanai 0 0 .000 1
Hana 0 2 .000 2
St. Anthony 0 2 .000 2
Kamehameha Maui 2, Maui High 0
Lahainaluna 9, King Kekaulike 2
Lanai at Molokai, 3:30 p.m.
St. Anthony vs. Hana at Maui High, 3:30 p.m.
King Kekaulike vs. Lahainaluna at Maehara Stadium, 3:30 p.m.
Maui High vs. Kamehameha Maui at Maehara Stadium, 4:30 p.m.