Playing a short distance from the major league team that he was drafted by, Mitch Levier showed the promise that the Oakland A’s once saw in him.
Levier collected four hits and started the winning rally in the eighth inning Tuesday as the Hawaii Stars beat the Vallejo Admirals 9-5 in a Pacific Association baseball game.
Waiakea graduate Michael Kenui pitched a scoreless eighth to get his first victory of the season as the Stars (13-18) made the short trip across San Pablo Bay in Northern California and bounced back from a six-game sweep at the hands of first-place San Rafael.
The drop in competition was noticeable. The last-place Admirals (8-18) made six errors.
Levier, who was a ninth-round draft choice by the A’s in 2008 after playing at Cal State Fullerton, enjoyed his first multihit game since joining the Stars on June 26 in San Rafael and scored three runs.
The teams combined for 25 hits, 22 of them singles. Hawaii starter Dallas Mahan allowed 10 hits in seven innings but struck out 10. He allowed five runs — four earned — with a walk and was in line for the loss until Hawaii scored twice in the eighth.
Levier led off with a single to chase Vallejo starter Sanmy Taveras, moved to second on an error and tied the game at 5 on Caleb Hatcher’s RBI single off Nicholas Flory. Felix Brown, who finished with two hits and three RBIs, put the Stars ahead with a sacrifice fly.
Jeremiah Steinert (1-1), who walked the only batter he faced in the eighth, Marshall McDonald, was the losing pitcher.
Hawaii put together five hits in the ninth to score three runs, getting run-scoring singles from McDonald and Brown. Matt Hibbert, who led off the inning with one of his two hits, scored on an error.
Hatcher had a single in each of Hawaii’s big three innings.
In the fourth, Hawaii broke through against Taveras to take a 4-2 lead. Levier doubled in a run and scored when McDonald’s grounder was misplayed for an error. Hits by Brown and Dustin Smith gave the Stars an advantage that they would hold until Lito Roman and Jordan English led off the fifth with singles and came home on Nathan Tomaszewski hit.
English was 3 for 4, while Jesse Olivar, who gave Vallejo the lead in the sixth with a run-scoring single, and Tomaszewski each compiled two hits and drove in two runs.
Kenui worked around a hit in the eighth and Tony York, who’s allowed only one run in 10 innings this season, pitched the ninth.
In seven innings, Taveras yielded five runs (three earned) on eight hits and four walks with three strikeouts.
The series continues at 4 p.m. HST today and Hawaii still needs two more wins in the six-game set to ensure they don’t leave Vallejo in the Pacific Association basement.
Hawaii 000 400 023 — 9 14 1
Vallejo 110 021 000 — 5 11 5