By JOE FERRARO
Bricen Ferreira was kicking himself.
After fouling off five pitches from Honokaa’s Ikena Juan in the fifth inning, the Kealakehe senior got one he wanted — a fastball on the inside part of the plate. But he got around a tad too early and ripped it about a foot foul down the left-field line.
“I just blew it,” Ferreira said. “I got my pitch, and I missed it.”
But much to his delight, Ferreira got a second chance Friday at Kealakehe, and he didn’t miss this pitch.
Ferreira lined a run-scoring double just inside the third-base line, and Zaynan Sanchez plated him with a go-ahead RBI single one out later, carrying the Waveriders to a 3-2 win over the Dragons in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation baseball game.
“It felt good once I got it fair,” Ferreira said of ending an 11-pitch at-bat with his double. “I was getting tired up there.”
John Alokoa, who reached on a fielder’s choice, scored from first on the double, and Ferreira advanced to third after Honokaa failed to throw Alokoa out at home. Pitcher Teao Buehler then grounded to short for the second out, and Sanchez followed by grounding a single to left that chased home Ferreira.
That rally was enough for Teao Buehler, who buckled down after allowing two runs on two hits in the first inning. He threw a four-hitter, striking out five and walking five in a 107-pitch performance.
“This shows we can battle,” Buehler said of the come-from-behind victory. “We’re just trying to battle.”
Kealakehe (1-3 BIIF, 3-5 overall) caught a bad break in the first inning, when Honokaa (1-4, 2-7) loaded the bases with two outs in the first inning.
The Dragons’ Sione Epenesa hit a grounder on the left side of the infield, and shortstop Alokoa took a few steps to his left and appeared ready to field the ball. However, it hit the shin of an umpire positioned behind Buehler and caromed to Alokoa’s right.
Kazu Tolentino and Robert Abran scored on the play, but the Dragons should have gotten only one run because a batted ball hitting an umpire results in a dead ball, which in turn allows each runner to advance only one base.
Regardless, Kealakehe manager Josh Hansen appreciated how his team responded to the misfortune.
“They’re learning how to deal with adversity,” Hansen said. “They didn’t lay down, and they dealt with the situation.”
The Waveriders scratched out a run in the third, when Duke Tamaye led off with a single. He scored two outs later, when Ferreira reached on an error.
Meanwhile, Buehler kept Kealakehe in contention, relying on a high 80s fastball that he ran in on the hands of Dragons hitters. He recorded four one-pitch outs — two pop-ups on the infield, a groundout to third and flyout to center.
“They here hitting my off-speed pitches, so coach went with the fastball, and they hit it on the ground,” Buehler said.
Juan also pitched a four-hitter, allowing one earned run. He walked two and struck out three.
“I thought he pitched a hell of game,” Honokaa manager Matt Charbonneau said.
However, the Dragons committed five errors in the game.
“We made a couple of mistakes, and they were all in one inning,” Charbonneau said. “And once again, we didn’t get timely hitting.”
Charbonneau believes those mistakes are correctable.
“We’re playoff-bound,” he said. “I think we can tighten it up.”
Honokaa 200 000 0 — 2 4 5
Kealakehe 001 020 x — 3 4 1
Konawaena 21, Kohala 4: Zane Gray went 4 for 5 with five RBIs, and Ryan Torres Torioka was 2 for 5 with four RBIs at Kamehameha Park for the Wildcats, who pounded out 18 hits in winning their fourth straight game.
Also, Kileona Manzano finished 2 for 3 with three RBIs, and Domonic Morris drove in two runs for Konawaena (3-1 BIIF, 7-1 overall) in a game that ended after five innings because of the league’s 10-run mercy rule.
Gray pitched four innings to get the win, allowing three runs on 10 hits. He struck out eight and walked one.
Cowboys starter Casey Stevens, who lasted 2 1/3 innings, took the loss. He gave up 11 hits and one walk, striking out one.
At the plate, Stevens went 3 for 3 with an RBI, while Chance Pang and Jeremiah Kanehailua both finished 2 for 3 with an RBI for Kohala (0-4, 0-8).
Konawaena 517 7 1 — 21 18 0
Kohala 120 01 — 4 12 2