Two was enough for Waiakea, which relied on complete-game gems by pitchers Kodi Medeiros and Caleb Freitas-Fields to sweep Hilo in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I baseball championship series.
Medeiros, a senior left-hander, pitched a one-hit masterpiece with 14 strikeouts in his last start at home, putting on a display of high-velocity dominance and corner-hitting command.
Behind Medeiros and a comeback offense, the Warriors defeated Hilo 5-1 in Game 1 on Wednesday at Wong Stadium.
Waiakea won the second game 6-5 behind Freitas-Fields, a sophomore right-hander, who pitched a game of perseverance, giving up a 5-0 lead after three innings, then firing goose eggs for the next four frames.
The Warriors (13-1) and Vikings (9-4-1) both have state spots to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division I state tournament, which will be held May 13-16 on Oahu.
Medeiros threw 102 pitches in the complete-game win that included two walks, a hit batter and long stretches of easy innings. At one point, he got into a groove with command of his cutter, a two-seam fastball that has sharp two-plane break, and mowed grass, striking out nine of 10 hitters.
The only hit Medeiros gave up was a bunt single to Conrad Kauffman in the fifth. The Vikings scratched him for an unearned run in the first inning when Jalen Carvalho clocked a first-pitch fastball for a sacrifice fly to score Isaiah Banasan, who was hit by a pitch.
Hilo freshman right-hander Joey Jarneski went the distance in the loss, doing his job by preserving the bullpen. In six innings, he allowed five runs (one unearned) on nine hits and no walks, and struck out three, pitching much beyond his years in a playoff game.
Medeiros batted 2 for 2, Caleb Freitas-Fields 2 for 3, Nate Minami 2 for 3 with an RBI and Taylor Mondina went 2 for 3 with three RBIs to lead the Warriors, who made the most of their nine hits.
“We battled and Kodi pitched a hell of a game,” Waiakea coach Jensen Sato said. “Their freshman (Jarneski) did a great job. He was impressive and has a lot of upside. Fortunately, we got hits in big situations and came out on top.
“I liked how Kodi pounded the strike zone and he was ahead of a lot of hitters. When he has command of that cutter, he’s unbelievable.”
Waiakea senior catcher Tyler Aburamen had a bird-eye’s view of Medeiros’ four-pitch arsenal: fastball, cutter, slider and changeup.
“Everything was working, his cutter, and he was spotting his fastball good,” Aburamen said. “He was hitting spots with his slider. It moves much more than his cutter.”
Jarneski held the Warriors scoreless through three innings, and was helped by the double play, closing the first and third innings by the pitcher’s best friend. However, Jarneski doesn’t throw all that hard, and the second time through the order Waiakea timed his off-speed pitches, and made hard contact.
In the fourth, Minami hit a sharp run-scoring single up the middle, and Mondina followed with a two-run line-drive triple off Hilo center fielder Jodd Carter’s glove. Mondina later scored on a wild pitch for a 4-1 lead.
“My first at-bat I was kind of uncomfortable,” Mondina said. “I settled in and started hitting my pitches. I told myself to just relax.”
Waiakea took a 5-1 lead in the sixth when Freitas-Fields doubled, and Mondina, appearing quite comfortable at the plate, ripped an RBI single to center field.
Then Medeiros closed the seventh inning with a flourish. He struck out the first batter, walked one, and then closed the game with a pair of punchouts.
“My stuff was on, all four of my pitches, my fastball, cutter, slider and changeup,” Medeiros said. “When I released my cutter out in front, I was able to spot it down and in and out to keep the hitters off-balanced. I threw my slider quite a bit and it felt really good. When I really needed to get a punchout I threw that for strike three.
“I did the best that I could. I was able to spot my pitches and kept it simple: let it rip.”
Waiakea 6, Hilo 5: Freitas-Fields threw a seven-hitter and allowed five runs (one unearned), walked two, and whiffed 10, getting a double play to end the best-of-three series. Second baseman Trevor Shimokusu made a leaping grab of Carvalho’s line shot, and then threw to first base to double off Micah Kaaukai, who was hit by a pitch.
Carvalho got stuck with a six-inning no-decision. The senior right-hander gave up five runs (one unearned) on seven hits and three walks, and struck out one.
Jodd Carter pitched one inning in the loss. He gave up an unearned run on one hit and one walk.
Besides Freitas-Fields’ clutch pitching, defense made a difference. Waiakea had two errors, which led to one unearned run. Hilo had three miscues, which led to two unearned runs.
In the top of the seventh, Hilo committed two errors, which led to an unearned run and a 5-5 tie. Ryder Oshiro had an RBI double for the go-ahead run, scoring Minami, who had an RBI fielder’s choice.
Oshiro batted 2 for 3 with two RBIs, the only Warrior to pair hits.
Jarneski went 2 for 3 with two RBIs to lead the Vikings, who were held hitless in the last four innings.
Hilo 100 000 0 — 1 1 1
Waiakea 000 401 x — 5 9 1
Waiakea 000 004 2 — 6 8 2
Hilo 302 000 0 — 5 7 3