Bears get past Warriors

Haole leads Baldwin to 8-5 win over Waiakea in state quarterfinals

Baldwin High School’s Kevin “Baba” Varner Jr. follows through on an RBI single in the fourth inning of the Bears’ 8-5 win over Waiakea in a Division I state tournament quarterfinal Thursday night at Maehara Stadium. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

WAILUKU — Kaipo Haole wasn’t rattled. He simply never gets that way.

The Baldwin High School senior right-hander used 106 of the 110 pitches he was allowed to lead the Bears to a hard-fought 8-5 win over Waiakea on Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the HHSAA/Wally Yonamine Foundation Division I state tournament at a jam-packed Maehara Stadium.

He fell behind 3-0 after one inning, but kept the top-ranked, top-seeded Bears in the game long enough to come back. He handed the ball to lifelong friend and teammate Baba Varner for the final two outs and the save.

“I wasn’t worried at all, you know,” Haole said. “I knew that we’d come back and our hitting would come around — and it did.”

Baldwin (15-0) improved to 23-1 with its 23rd straight win. The Bears will face No. 4 Mililani in the semifinals tonight at 7. It is the first time since 1990 that all four seeded teams have advanced to the D-I semifinals.

Baldwin’s Makane Honokaupu is welcomed home by teammates Ben Zeigler-Namoa and Varner after scoring in the third inning.

“I’m glad we came out alive,” Baldwin coach Shane Dudoit said. “It’s the time that we’ve spent, that they have spent in these tournaments — it’s a never-give-up, never-say-die attitude.”

Baldwin took a 5-4 lead with three runs in the bottom of the third, the first two of them on a wild play. Varner was hit by a pitch, Cade Kalehuawehe walked and then Haole laced a single into left field, bringing home Varner.

When the throw came into the plate, Waiakea catcher Cody Min fired to second base but the ball sailed into center field, allowing another run to score and moving Haole all the way to third base. Haole then scampered home on a groundball that was mishandled off the bat of Mochi Dukelow.

Varner smoked a two-out, RBI single up the middle to make it 6-4 in the bottom of the fourth — Danelle Daniels scored on the play after leading off the inning with a sharp single to center. After a wild pitch moved him to second, Varner scampered home on an error off a ball batted by Kalehuawehe to make it 7-4.

The Warriors battled right back when Stone Miyao walked with one out, Kalai Rosario beat out an infield single and Safea Mauai smoked a ground-rule double to center field to make it 7-5. Haole got a line out from Cody Min that first baseman Dukelow made a nice play on and then struck out Devin Hirata with the tying run on second base.

Baldwin’s Kaipo Haole pitches in the first inning Thursday.

Baldwin got a run back in the bottom of the fifth when Daniels reached first base on a strikeout and the ball was thrown away to first base, allowing Ben Ziegler-Namoa to score from second base to push the lead to 8-5.

Waiakea broke on top 3-0 in the top of the first inning on a gargantuan two-run homer by Kalai Rosario — his second long ball of the tournament — and a sacrifice fly ball by Brandon Nakayama.

The Bears struck back in the second when Kalehuawehe beat out an infield single to lead off before Haole laced a single to left-center field to put runners on first and third bases. Then an error on a double steal allowed courtesy runner Makane Honokaupu to run home, and then Dukelow’s squeeze bunt made it 3-2.

Isaiah Souza beat out an infield single but the Warriors’ Cody Hirata got out of the two-on, one-out jam by inducing two straight groundouts.

Waiakea pushed the lead back to 4-2 in the top of the third when Rosario doubled to right field and immediately scored on a single by Mauai. The Bears got out of further trouble on a nifty double play when Varner caught a shallow fly ball by Devin Hirata and then nailed Mauai off of second base.

The Bears’ Dawson Tokishi slides home to score a second-inning run.

The top three batters in the Waiakea order — Miyao, Rosario and Mauai — went 7-for-10, scored five runs and had four RBIs, two doubles and Rosario’s homer. The rest of the order had one hit.

“Those guys are hammers, man,” Haole said of the top three Warriors. “They can hit and it showed.”

Dudoit said, “I haven’t a top of the lineup like that in my 20-some-odd years of coaching high school baseball. They’re incredible baseball players, they’re great kids. They compete, they do what they’re supposed to do.”

Haole left after 106 pitches, bringing on Varner with one out in the top of the seventh. Varner gave up a double to Miyao, but then induced a fly ball from Rasario for the second out and struck out Mauai to end the game and earn perhaps the biggest save of his life.

Varner used 19 pitches, meaning he is eligible to pitch again today, if needed. Dudoit said Roy Meinen, the winner in the state final last season over Waiakea, would start on the mound today.

Waiakea’s Safea Mauai slides home to score a first-inning run as Baldwin catcher Cade Kalehuawehe covers the plate.

“Yeah, it’s up there,” Varner said. “Today they just came out to hit. I’ve never seen them like that before, but I don’t know. It didn’t hit me until after it hit Cade’s glove and everybody started cheering.”

Waiakea (15-4) falls into a fifth-place semifinal against Kamehameha Kapalama today at 1:30 p.m. It is the third straight time the Warriors have been eliminated by an MIL team, the last two times coming in the state final, including to Baldwin last season.

“Kind of at a loss for words right now, kind of disappointed,” Waiakea coach Eric Kurosawa said. “Defending champions, they showed why they’re the defending champs.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

Waiakea 301 010 0–5 7 5

Baldwin 023 210 x–8 8 0

Cody Hirata, Rysen Ross (4), Braxton Cagampang (5) and Cody Min. Kaipo Haole, Baba Varner (7) and Cade Kalehuawehe. W–Haole. L–Hirata. Sv–Varner. 2B–Waiakea: Kalai Rosario, Safea Mauai, Stone Miyao. HR–Waiakea: Rosario.

Leading hitters–Waiakea: Rosario 3-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Mauai 2-3, run, 2 RBIs; Miyao 2-3, 2 runs. Baldwin: Baba Varner 2-3, 2 runs, RBI; Haole 2-3, run, RBI.

No. 2 Punahou 4, Kaiser 1

The second-seeded Buff ‘n Blue scored twice in each of the first two innings and rode a five-hitter on the mound by Matthew McConnell into the semifinals.

Punahou (15-4) will face No. 3 Hilo in the first semifinal today at 4 p.m. Kaiser (10-7) fell into a fifth-place semifinal against Kailua at 11 a.m.

McConnell struck out five and walked none. Designated hitter Kade Morihara had two hits and knocked in two for Punahou.

Kaiser 001 000 0–1 5 2

Punahou 220 000 x–4 6 2

Curtis Chung Jr., Landon Shigeta (2) and Brock Perreira. Matthew McConnell and Matthew Nishimura. W–McConnell. L–Chung.

Leading hitters–Punahou: Kade Morihara 2-3, 2 RBIs.

No. 3 Hilo 8, Kailua 4

The Vikings rode a complete-game five-hitter by Ocean Gabonia to eliminate the Surfriders from title contention.

Gabonia struck out five and walked one while facing just 27 batters.

Hilo (14-3) advanced to today’s semifinal at 4 p.m. today against Punahou. The Vikings rallied from a 4-2 deficit with a run in the bottom of the third and four more in the fifth.

Maui Ahuna and Gabonia each had two hits for the Vikings — Gabonia knocked in three runs and Ahuna scored two.

Kailua (13-4) fell into a fifth-place semifinal today at 11 a.m. against Kaiser.

Kailua 004 000 0–4 5 2

Hilo 201 041 x–8 8 2

Quinn McMurray, Jalen Ah Yat (5) and Kalua Neves. Ocean Gabonia and Ryan Cabreira. W–Gabonia. L–McMurray. 2B–Hilo: Maui Ahuna.

Leading hitters–Hilo: Ahuna 2-3, 2 runs, RBI; Gabonia 2-3, 3 RBIs.

No. 4 Mililani 4, Kamehameha Kapalama 0

Mililani’s Jason Shiigi outlasted Kamehameha Kapalama’s Dylan Rawlins in a pitcher’s duel on the mound in the first quarterfinal.

Shiigi allowed two hits while striking out nine and walking one in his complete-game shutout. Rawlins also went the distance, allowing two earned runs and eight hits while striking out three and walking two.

Charles Winchester and Jayton Pang each had two hits for the Trojans (14-2), who advance to tonight’s 7 p.m. semifinal. Kapalama (14-9) will play in the fifth-place semifinals today at 1:30 p.m.

KS Kapalama 000 000 0–0 2 3

Mililani 020 101 x–4 8 0

Dylan Rawlins and Vincente Venenciano. Jason Shiigi and Hunter Faildo. W–Shiigi. L–Rawlins. 2B–Mililani: Charles Winchester.

Leading hitters–Mililani: Winchester 2-4, run; Jayton Pang 2-3, run.

Saint Louis 8, Castle 2, 6 innings

The Crusaders (17-6) advanced to the consolation final with their win. Castle’s season ended at 9-9.

Jacob Thomas Navyac, Cole Kashimoto and Blayne Contrades all had two hits for Saint Louis. Makaio Bruchal and Wyatt Santilena both went three innings on the mound to combine on a three-hitter.

The Crusaders will face the winner of today’s Maui High-Campbell game at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Saint Louis 320 300–8 10 3

Castle 000 110–2 3 4

Makaio Bruchal, Wyatt Santilena (4) and Degan Davis. Fabian Silva-Pokipala, Nakoa Takahashi-Gaspar (5) and Ian Rivera. W–Santilena. L–Silva-Pokipala. 2B–Castle: Baron Arquero. 3B–Saint Louis: Caleb Lomavita.

Leading hitters–Saint Louis: Cole Kashimoto 2-3, 3 runs; Jacob Thomas Navyac 2-3, RBI; Blayne Contrades 2-3, run.

Wally Yonamine Foundation Baseball State Championships

DIVISION I

At Maehara Stadium

Wednesday’s Late Result

First Round

Kailua 10, Maui High 1, 9 innings

Thursday’s Results

Consolation

Saint Louis 8, Castle 2, 6 innings

Quarterfinals

No. 4 Mililani 4, Kamehameha Kapalama 0

No. 3 Hilo 8, Kailua 4

No. 2 Punahou 4, Kaiser 1

No. 1 Baldwin 8, Waiakea 5

Today’s Games

Consolation

Maui High vs. Campbell, 8:30 a.m.

Fifth-place semifinals

Kaiser vs. Kailua, 11 a.m.

Waiakea vs. Kamehameha Kapalama, 1:30 p.m.

Semifinals

Punahou vs. Hilo , 4 p.m.

Baldwin vs. Mililani, 7 p.m.

Saturday’s Games

Consolation final

Saint Louis vs. Maui High-Campbell winner, 10:30 a.m.

Fifth-place game

Waiakea-Kamehameha Kapalama winner vs. Kaiser-Kailua winner, 1 p.m.

Third-place game

Baldwin-Mililani loser vs. Punahou-Hilo loser, 3:30 p.m.

Championship

Baldwin-Mililani winner vs. Punahou-Hilo winner, 6 p.m.

DIVISION II

At Vidinha Stadium

Thursday’s Results

Quarterfinals

No. 3 St. Francis 11, Konawaena 5

No. 2 Radford 11, Seabury Hall 1, 5 innings

No. 1 Kamehameha Hawaii 12, Waipahu 2

No. 4 Waimea 20, Molokai 5, 5 innings

Today’s Games

Consolation

Seabury Hall vs. Konawaena, 10:30 a.m.

Waipahu vs. Molokai, 1 p.m.

Semifinals

Radford vs. St. Francis, 3:30 p.m.

Kamehameha Hawaii vs. Waimea, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday’s Games

Fifth-place game

Seabury Hall-Konawaena winner vs. Molokai-Waipahu winner, 2 p.m.

Third-place game

Waimea-Kamehameha Hawaii loser vs. Radford-St. Francis loser, 4:30 p.m.

Championship

Waimea-Kamehameha Hawaii winner vs. Radford-St. Francis winner, 7 p.m.

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