By MATT GERHART
Tribune-Herald sports writer
Edgar Barclay stands out on the Hilo All-Stars, and not just because he’s a 5-foot-8 left-hander. While many of his teammates on the ages 13-14 PONY Baseball team are just familiarizing themselves with high school, Barclay is already a senior at St. Joseph.
Barclay, however, hasn’t been able to play high school baseball because the Cardinals don’t field a team.
Heretofore an unknown commodity, his masterpiece Saturday revealed a hidden gem.
The overpowering 14-year-old threw a no-hitter with 16 strikeouts, and Hilo beat Napa Valley, Calif., 4-0 to reach the semifinals of the West Zone tournament in Whittier, Calif.
“You’re not going to believe it,” Hilo coach Eric Kurosawa said of Barclay’s grade. “He’s just a really, really bright kid.”
He’s heady on the mound, too. Mixing a fastball and curve, Barclay walked just two batters, and none got beyond first base.
“He never really gave up a hard-hit ball. He got ahead of hitters and spotted his fastball well,” Kurosawa said. “We were hoping for something like this (out of him), but a no-hitter? That’s a surprise.”
And it may be the least of Barclay’s accomplishments, considering his rapid ascent through high school.
“He’s a happy-go-lucky kid,” Kurosawa said. “Everybody told him he did a great job. What else can you say?”
Kurosawa credited assistant Jensen Sato with calling a good game. Catcher Mackanzy Maesaka also was busy behind the plate, but just about everyone else wearing a black and red Hilo jersey in Whittier — about 12 miles southeast of Los Angeles — was able to enjoy Barclay’s show. His fielders only had to record five outs in back of him, even if they didn’t realize they were becoming part of a memorable moment.
“I don’t think anybody really knew about the no-hitter during the game,” Kurosawa said. “Just kids playing baseball. It was a close game.”
It was scoreless until the top of the fourth, when Taylor Mondina, Barclay and Trayden Tamiya each collected RBI singles as Hilo scored four runs.
The fourth and final Hilo PONY team to play in a West Zone on the mainland this summer, the All-Stars are halfway toward becoming the first to reach a World Series.
Hilo, which improved to 6-0 in the postseason, will face Lakeside, Calif., at 9 a.m. Hawaii time today for a berth in the championship game of the eight-team, double-elimination tournament. Each team is 2-0, though Lakeside has been the offensive juggernaut of the field so far, outscoring its competition by a combined 27-0.
Hilo’s pitching has been stingy. Coming off a bye Friday and including Makoa Andres’ 11-strikeout performance a day earlier, it’s only allowed one run.
“Very happy with our pitching,” Kurosawa said. “I think we’re getting our legs, so we should start (hitting).”
Hilo manufactured its rally Saturday.
Shaun Kurosawa walked and Andres reached on a hit a by a pitch. Mondina gave Hilo a 1-0 lead with a run-scoring single, then he broke up a potential double play on Maesaka’s fielder’s choice groundout, forcing an error that brought home another run.
Hilo 000 400 0 — 4 7 1
Napa Valley 000 000 0 — 0 0 1