WAIMEA — Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s baseball team certainly has a flair for the dramatic.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, cleanup hitter Cyrus Inglis hit a walk-off single, bringing in teammate Ian Rice and giving HPA a 7-6 victory over visiting Konawaena (6-3), solidifying one of the top two spots in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II playoffs.
In its season finale Saturday, Kamehameha (7-1-1) travels to HPA (8-1) with an automatic berth to the Hawaii State Athletic Association tournament and the top seed in the BIIF Division II semifinals on the line. The contest will be HPA’s third game in six days.
“It will be a good baseball game,” HPA head coach Jordan Hayslip said. “This is a fun group to coach. We just want to keep playing good baseball.”
Hayslip credited his nine seniors for setting an example after the team’s first loss of the season against Hilo on Monday and also for establishing the never say die approach his team has become known for.
“That attitude comes from the kids and the strong senior class leading us,” Hayslip said. “We have a group of guys who get along well. That adds to our chemistry.”
With the loss, Konawaena is locked into the No. 3 seed and will travel to the loser of Saturday’s contest between HPA and Kamehameha in the BIIF playoffs.
“We really wanted this one so we could host a playoff game, but someone has to lose and somebody has to win,” Konawaena assistant coach Herman Ishibashi said.
Koa Ellis recorded the win on the mound for Ka Makani, allowing 11 hits and striking out two in a complete game effort.
Jordan Miyahara-Young took the loss for the Wildcats, allowing eight hits and seven runs. The Wildcats’ ace issued just two walks, while striking out one.
The game won’t go down as a gem for Ellis, but the junior hurler managed to get himself out of jams — including a bases loaded situation in the seventh inning — and helped himself out with a lead-off single to ignite the HPA rally in the bottom of the seventh.
“(Ellis) did what he had to do on the mound and came up with that big hit for us late,” Hayslip said. “He has done a great job for us all year.”
The teams played in blistering winds and sideways rain — typical Waimea weather. Ishibashi said the conditions made fielding a tough task.
“With this field you have to play the wind,” he said. “When they hit the ball out there, sometimes it dies in the air. You think it may go over your head, but it just dies in front of you and then you have to rush in. Then the wind can change direction real quick too.”
HPA was helped out by its mascot on a few occasions, but none greater than during the seventh inning rally. Rice launched a long shot off of Miyahara-Young to center field, which the center fielder misjudged. The ball flew over the fielder’s head, brining in Ellis to tie the game and putting Rice, the winning run, in scoring position.
When asked about the wind, Hayslip said with a smile, “We practice in this kind of weather, so we are use to it.”
Inglis game-winning single concluded his perfect day. The junior slugger went 4 of 4 from the plate, with two RBIs.
“I commend the batter. He hit it hard and you can’t do anything about that,” Ishibashi said of the Inglis’ hit. “That’s baseball.”
Despite the loss, Evyn Yamaguchi had a solid day at the plate for the Wildcats, knocking in two RBIs on 3 of 4 hitting.
HPA catcher Mike Nakahara has had a penchant for timely hitting this season. He slapped a two-RBI shot in the fifth inning, to tie the game at 5-5.
With a possible rematch on the horizon, Ishibashi said the battle with the wind will go down as a lesson learned.
“If we have to come here again, we will look forward to it,” Ishibashi said.
KONA 200 031 0 — 6 11 4
HPA 100 220 2 — 7 8 4
Waiakea 14, Ka’u 0: Chase Komatsu struck out 11 batters in five shutout innings in Pahala and Ryder Oshiro hit a three-run double to help the Warriors clinch the top seed in the BIIF Division I playoffs.
Oshiro finished 3 for 3 and doubled twice in Waiakea’s sixth straight victory. The Warriors host Konawaena in Saturday’s regular-season finale, and then they take on Keaau on April 26 at home in a doubleheader as the best-of-three league semifinals begin. A day later, Kealakehe and second-seeded Hilo start their best-of-three series.
Matt Camacho drove in a run with a hit in the second and he singled and scored in the sixth. Bryce Yamashita delivered a two-run single as the Warriors scored seven times in the seventh inning.
Komatsu allowed a hit and a walk before Bryce Felipe tossed two hitless innings with two strikeouts.
For the Trojans (1-8), Anthony Emmsley-Ah Hee allowed 14 runs — seven earned — on 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings. He didn’t issue walk or strike out a batter. Emmsley-Ah Hee had his team’s hit, a single to lead off the fifth.
Waiakea 030 121 7 — 14 11 1
Ka’u 000 000 0 — 0 1 1
Kamehameha 12, Keaau 0: Alika Young went two innings and Kobi Candaroma, Chay Toson, and Jordan Hirae each threw an innings for a combined one-hitter.
Candaroma gave up the hit and walked two. Toson struck out three; Hirae whiffed two. Young got the win with two scoreless frames.
Makoa Rosario batted 1 for 1 with three RBIs, Matt Chun went 1 for 1 with two RBIs and Candaroma added three RBIs for the Warriors (7-1-1).
Kamehameha will travel to HPA on Saturday for the BIIF regular season title and first berth to the Division II state tournament.
Justin Quesada went 2 1/3 innings in the loss. He gave up 11 runs (six unearned) on four hits and five walks. Anson Kauwe, who had Keaau’s lone hit, pitched 2 2/3 innings of one-run relief for the Cougars (1-7).
KSH 345 000 — 12 6 2
Keaau 000 00x — 0 1 6
Hilo 21, Pahoa 0: Riley Macanas and Conrad Kauffman combined on a no-hitter and Hilo banged out 18 hits to beat the Daggers in a 5-inning TKO win at Wong Stadium.
Macanas started and three 4 2/3 innings before Kauffman came in and struck out the final batter to perseve the no-hitter. Macanas, who picked up the win, struck out two and walked one in a strong performance.
Jalen Carvalho had a three-run homer to spark the Vikings, who also got two hits and four RBIs from Noah Serrao. Carvalho, Micah Kaaukai and Jodd Carter each had two hits.
Pahoa 000 00 — 0 0 3
Hilo 54(12) x — 21 18 0