Online Extra: Masaoka suffers rough start in Stars loss


Tribune-Herald

Waylen Sing-Chow’s four-pitch walk to open the bottom of the first inning was a bad sign of things to come for Onan Masaoka. Masaoka endured his worst Pacific Association baseball start to date en route to his fifth straight winless effort.

Na Koa Ikaika Maui jumped on Masaoka for six runs in the first Thursday night and held on to beat the Hawaii Stars 7-6 at Iron Maehara Stadium in Wailuku, Maui.

Masaoka (2-5) struggled with his command from the outset, walking the first three batters he faced while managing only one strike. When he did find the zone, Na Koa Ikaika started collecting hits and raced around the bases in a forgettable first: Jeremy Williams’ single to right scored a run, Angus Roeger provided an infield hit, Brandon Gregorich smacked a two-run ground-rule double and Jimmy Rohan followed with run-scoring single to right.

Masaoka eventually settled down, retiring eight straight batters before Rohan’s double to lead off the sixth. Rohan came around to score on a single by Sing-Chow that chased Masaoka, who allowed seven runs and nine hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Mike Williams (7-1) pitched seven solid innings to beat the Stars for the third time this season, and Chris Mobley got four outs for his eighth save for Maui, which won for the second straight night in the middle meeting of a five-game series.

Na Koa Ikaika (33-18) committed two of its three errors in the fifth as the Stars (21-27) started to chip away at their deficit by scoring three times. Shortstop Charlie Mirabal misplayed Katsuaki Furuki’s grounder with two outs to allow two runs to score.

Dustin Smith, who was 2 for 5, doubled in a run in the seventh, and Felix Brown hit a two-run single in the eighth.

Smith singled in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to eight games.

Williams struck out four and allowed four runs — one earned — on five hits and a walk.

Masaoka, a former major leaguer and Waiakea High standout, hasn’t won since beating East Bay on June 20, and his ERA climbed to 6.09. His biggest problem this season has been walks. In 51 2/3 innings covering 11 starts, Masaoka has allowed a very respectable 52 hits. But the one-time flame-throwing left-hander has issued 34 free passes against 39 strikeouts.

Rohan was 3 for 4 and Gregorich went 2 for 4.

The series winds down with 5:30 p.m. games Friday and Saturday before the Stars head west for six games in Japan,

Hawaii 000 030 120 —6 6 0

Na Koa Ikaika 600 001 00x —7 10 3

 

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