By JOE FERRARO
KEALAKEKUA — Pick up your teammate.
It’s something coaches ask of players after someone on the team has made a critical mistake.
On Monday at Konawaena, it was Kamehameha coach Andy Correa who needed a pick-me-up, and his players were there for him.
The pick-me-up came in the form of Daylan Calicdan’s RBI single that gave the Warriors an insurance run in the sixth inning. It came in the form of Bronson Pulgados’ solo home run an inning later. More importantly, it came in the form of left fielder Matt Chun charging in and snagging Shelton Grace’s line drive to strand the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh and preserve the Warriors’ 5-3 victory over the Wildcats in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation baseball game.
The victory put Kamehameha in sole possession of first place in the BIIF Division II standings at 4-0 in the league and 5-1 overall. The Wildcats dropped to 2-1, 3-1.
“It’s good to play against a quality team and come out with a win,’’ Correa said of the contest, which included a 25-minute rain delay.
Konawaena made Correa and Warriors sweat out the win, starting a rally with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the seventh.
Kileona Manzano lined a single to right off Pulgados, and Jarrett Kitaoka and Zane Gray followed with back-to-back walks to load the bases. Then Chun saved the day when he pulled in Grace’s liner to left.
“In a well-played game, usually you talk about a game of inches,’’ Konawaena coach Dave Distel said. “That was a game of inches.’’
Two innings earlier, Correa was kicking himself for sending Chay Toson home from third base on Makoa Rosario’s fly ball to Grace in right field with the bases loaded and nobody out.
Grace made Correa regret that decision, firing a bullet to Wildcats catcher Evyn Yamaguchi in plenty of time to tag out Toson. The double play allowed Konawaena pitcher Jordan Miyahira-Young to avoid a potential big inning from Kamehameha and leave the field with his team trailing by just a run at 3-2.
“They picked me up,’’ Correa said.
Kupono Decker did his part on the mound, limiting Konawaena to three runs on two hits over five innings to get the win.
He got off to a rough start, walking three batters and hitting another in the first inning. That allowed the Wildcats to take a 2-0 lead without the benefit of a hit.
But Decker settled in the rest of the way, retiring 10 of the last 15 batters he faced. He didn’t give up a hit until Grace reached on an infield single in top of the fourth. Pulgados replaced him in the top of the sixth after Decker allowed a leadoff single to Kitaoka.
“The first inning, I wasn’t mentally ready,’’ Decker said. “The anxiety was coming into me. Then I was putting the trust in my defense.’’
And his defense came through, with shortstop Calicdan and second baseman Chad Teshima turning 6-4-3 double plays in the second and fourth innings.
Calidcan, who finished 1 for 2 with two RBIs, also played a big role offensively. He capped a two-run Kamehameha second inning with a sacrifice fly that made it 2-2. Three innings later, Calicdan walked, advanced to second on Toson’s sacrifice bunt, went to third on Teshima’s bunt single and scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.
In the sixth, Calicdan laced a run-scoring single to left that gave Kamehameha a 4-2 lead.
“I thought the guys did a good job hitting the ball,’’ Correa said.
Especially Pulgados, who hit the ball hard in three at-bats but had nothing to show for it. He hit a line drive right at third baseman Gray in the first inning, launched a deep drive to center that Wildcats center fielder Domonic Morris hauled in just three steps short of the fence and hit another liner that Gray dove to knock down in the infield.
“He was due,’’ Correa said.
Ahead in the count at 2-0 in the seventh inning, Pulgados got the pitch he wanted, and he drove it well over the left-field fence.
“I was zoning in on a fastball,’’ Pulgados said.
For the most part, however, the Warriors got a steady diet of change-ups and curveballs from Miyahira-Young, who pitched a seven hitter in taking the loss.
In a 97-pitch outing, Miyahira-Young gave up four earned runs, walking two and striking out two.
“He tried to work offspeed because we’re a fastball-hitting team,’’ Pulgados said.
On the mound, Pulgados gave up an Evyn Yamaguchi run-scoring single that made it 4-3 in the sixth. But like Decker, he worked his way around trouble, stranding one runner in scoring position in the sixth and two more in the seventh.
As a team, Konawaena managed just four hits.
“With hitting, our timing is off by an inch,’’ Distel said. “It’s getting the timing down.
“I’m not worried. I know our seniors will come out hitting, and we’ll come right back.’’
Kamehameha 020 011 0 — 5 7 0
Konawaena 200 001 0 — 3 4 2
Honokaa 13, Pahoa 3: Sione Epenesa broke open a close game with a three-run homer in the fifth, and Jon Charbonneau pitched 3 1/3 shutout innings in relief for the host Dragons.
Ikena Juan’s two-run double with nobody out in the bottom of the sixth capped the scoring and invoked the league’s 10-run mercy rule
Epenesa and Kamaehu Richards (two doubles) both went 2 for 4 with three RBIs, while Jeremy Charbonneau and Damien Kaluhimoku added two hits apiece for Honokaa (1-2 BIIF, 1-4 overall).
Jon Charbonneau, pitching in relief of Halana Birch, struck out eight of the 10 batters he retired and walked two. Birch struck out five, walked seven and hit one over 2 2/3 innings.
The Daggers’ Dathan Wong-Chong went the distance and took the loss. Damien Mercado had the lone hit for Pahoa (0-2, 0-5) — a single in the third inning.
Pahoa 012 000 — 3 1 7
Honokaa 014 332 — 13 11 3