Online Extra: Masaoka delivers in Stars’ victory


Tribune-Herald

Pitching in Hilo and bolstered by a dominant left arm, it was just like old times for Onan Masaoka.

Masaoka delivered six shutout innings of one-hit ball Thursday night and the Hawaii Stars beat the East Bay Lumberjacks 8-2 at Wong Stadium to cap a three-game interleague sweep.

Masaoka (2-3), a former star pitcher at Waiakea who rose to the major leagues, won his second straight start and first at home in his initial season for the Stars. He walked two but struck out five to continue a trend by Hawaii starting pitchers against East Bay, a semi-pro baseball team from San Francisco.

Hawaii’s three starters — Dallas Mahan, Matt Stropoli and Masaoka — were the stars of the series. None allowed a run.

The Stars scored in each of the first four innings to take an 8-0 lead thanks to a balanced lineup: seven different Stars collected hits and eight Hawaii players either scored a run or drove one in.

Brenden Davis got things started in the first with a two-run single and leadoff hitter Matt Hibbert and hot-hitting Katsuaki Furuki each finished with two hits and two runs scored. Hibbert stole two bases for the second straight game, while Furuki lifted his average to .390 with his sixth multihit game in nine contests.

After a 2-10 start, Hawaii (9-12) has won four straight and seven of nine to climb out of the cellar in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs.

Losing pitcher Sean Burns (0-1) allowed five runs in the first three innings, and Hawaii took advantage of a two-out error in the fourth to score three runs without the benefit of a hit against Francisco Leon. Leon plunked three batters, including Anthony Williams with the bases loaded, and walked two, including a free pass to Tyler Krobetzky with the bags full that brought in another run.

After Masaoka lowered his ERA to 5.76, Big Island natives Reece Alnas and Michael Kenui also pitched. Alnas, a Kamehameha graduate, pitched a scoreless seventh allowing a hit with a strikeout, while Waiakea grad Kenui struggled with his command as East Bay broke through for two runs in the eighth. He allowed two hits and two walks with two wild pitches, then retired the side in order in the ninth, finishing with two strikeouts.

The start in the bottom of the first was just how Hawaii drew it up. Singles by Hibbert and Furuki sandwiched a walk to Dustin Smith, and Davis came through with a hit to put the Starts ahead 2-0.

Hibbert increased the lead with a run-scoring single in the second, and Hawaii connected for three extra-base hits to score twice in the third. Furuki led off with a double and came home on Marshall McDonald’s single, then back-to-back doubles by Krobetzky and Anthony Williams produced another run.

At 5:30 p.m. today at Wong, Hawaii opens a three-game series against the Santa Rosa Rosebuds, another semi-pro team from California. Before the game, the Stars will honor the East Hawaii Special Olympics’ unified softball team that won gold at the summer games on Oahu. The series continues at 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

East Bay 000 000 020 — 2 4 1

Hawaii 212 300 00x — 8 9 0

 

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