KAPAAU — Though Honokaa had just taken a big step, coach Gayne Kobayashi’s prime takeaway was a smaller one: The Dragons continue to work hard together as a baseball team.
Kobayashi is taking the classic one-game-at-a-time philosophy, and if he gets one more resourceful effort like he saw Wednesday, then Honokaa will reach the postseason.
Caden Perreira-Lau finished 4 for 4 and Kamaehu Richards loomed large in both of the Dragons’ rallies in a 5-2 victory against Kohala that broke a tie for fourth place in Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II.
Continuing to build off the momentum of a victory last Friday against Kealakehe, the Dragons (4-5) went ahead with three runs in the sixth inning and can clinch the final spot in the BIIF semifinals with a victory Saturday at home against Ka’u.
“The win against Kealakehe made them believe in themselves more,” Kobayashi said. “They learned that playing together makes them stronger.”
Honokaa used three pitchers to hold Kohala to five hits. Ikena Juan earned the victory with three innings in relief of Halana Birch, who pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
In addition to rooting for the Trojans on Saturday, the Cowboys (3-6) need to beat Pahoa in their regular-season finale to keep their playoff chances alive.
“I’m pleased with the way we played,” Kohala coach Pono Nakamura said. “Hats off to Honokaa. They came to play today.”
The Dragons collected nine hits, bunching them together in the fourth and sixth to get to stingy freshman left-hander Tate Fernandez.
Richards led off the sixth with a single, moved to third on an error and a wild pitch and scored on Nainoa Faulk’s sacrifice fly to put the Dragons ahead 3-2. Jeremy Charbonneau got another rally started with his second hit of the game, Johnathan Charbonneau followed with a double, and each scored on Perreira-Lau’s single.
“Timely hitting,” Jeremy Charbonneau said. “Once we started getting hits, we kind of all wanted to start jumping on that wagon.
“We found our groove and have kept it like a brotherhood almost.”
In the fourth, Jeremy Charbonneau singled to drive in Richards, who had doubled to deep center to plate the game’s first run.
“I just wanted to give us a chance to win,” said Richards, who was 2 for 4. “We’re picking each other up, and that’s what has got us to where we are now.”
Juan worked three innings and allowed four hits, including Troy Castillo’s RBI double in the fourth, with three walks and three strikeouts. Johnathan Charbonneau got the final two outs of the game.
Chance Pang was 2 for 3 with a walk for the Cowboys. He led off the fifth with a single and scored on an error.
In a complete game, Fernandez walked two and struck out five.
Honokaa 000 203 0 — 5 9 1
Kohala 000 110 0 — 2 5 4