KAILUA-KONA — When Waiakea senior pitcher Kodi Medeiros is on the mound, a circus is likely to follow. That was the case Wednesday at Kealakehe High School as Waiakea knocked off Kealakehe 3-1 in its opening game of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation season.
In five innings of work, Mederios recorded 10 strikeouts, walked none and allowed just one hit in front of the nearly two dozen scouts armed with speed guns, notepads and scrutinizing eyes. The Warriors’ highly touted prospect is expected to be a first-round pick in the Major League Baseball first-year player draft in June.
“Kodi is a special talent,” Waiakea coach Jensen Sato. “The big moment does not get to him. It was the same way in the state tournament his sophomore year. He went after guys today.”
Calvin Uemura closed out the game for Waiakea with two no-hit innings.
“For the most part, we pitched and caught the baseball well and executed offensively,” Sato said. “We left some guys on base, but I think that was just opening day nerves. There were definitely butterflies, but these kids grinded it out.”
Zaynan Sanchez took the loss for Kealakehe (1-1). Sanchez pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing four hits, two earned runs and striking out five. Pohaku Dela Cruz pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief for the Waveriders, allowing no hits or runs.
“Zaynan Sanchez pitched as well as I have seen since I have been a Waverider,” said second-year Kealakehe head coach Josh Hansen. “Then Pohaku pitched us out of a situation with runners on base and that was fun to watch. I think we have a lot to look forward to.”
Despite the loss, the outlook is healthy for Kealakehe. The Waveriders have traditionally played shorter games with Waiakea because of the BIIF’s 10-run mercy rule. A tight loss against the Warriors top starter — and likely one of the top pitchers in the state — is a leap in the right direction.
“You have to tip your hat to a lefty who consistently pitches in the high 90s,” Hansen said. “This was the first time a lot of these guys ever saw pitches at that speed. Coming in, I told them that this kid is a strike thrower and is going to challenge you. We did not have any crucial mistakes, our pitchers threw strikes, but were just not able to get the crucial hits.”
Sanchez recorded the only hit for the Waveriders — a single in the bottom of the second.
Medeiros was the top slugger for the Warriors, going 1-of-2 with two RBIs. Medeiros also drew an intentional walk in the sixth inning. Waiakea lead off hitter Gehrig Octavio reached base twice, including a triple in the first inning.
The throng of scouts was an obvious distraction. Most were dressed in major league team apparel and sat just a few feet away at Kealakehe’s very intimate venue.
“We didn’t want to play into the hype. We just wanted to play our game,” Hansen said. “I told them there would be scouts here, but not to add to the hype and concentrate on the task at hand. We always want to play against other team’s No. 1 guy. If we want to win, we will have to see (Medeiros) again.”
Waiakea 110 010 0 — 3 4 2
Kealakehe 010 000 0 — 1 1 2
Hawaii Prep 4, Keaau 3: Kalan Camero hit a go-ahead two-run single in the sixth inning to lift visiting Ka Makani to a season-opening win.
Left-hander DJ Sekiya pitched a five-hitter for HPA and didn’t allow an earned run.
Lii Purdy delivered an RBI triple in the first inning and Ka Makani led 2-0 before an error opened the door as the Cougars scored three runs in the third inning.
Cougars freshman Anson Kauwe finished 2 for 3, including a two-run single, and Byron Cachola added a sacrifice fly.
Kauwe also was the losing pitcher, yielding four hits and two runs with two walks and three strikeouts in three innings.
Sekiya didn’t walk a batter and struck out two.
Hawaii Prep 011 002 0 — 4 5 1
Keaau 030 000 0 —3 5 2
Honokaa 13, Pahoa 5: Halana Birch pitched a complete game and drove in three runs as the Dragons won on the road.
Birch and Caden Perreira-Lau each finished 3 or 4 with three RBIs for Honokaa (1-1), and Austine Jardine went 2 for 5 with two RBIs.
Starter Dathan Wong Chong didn’t get out of the first inning and took the loss for the Daggers (0-2), but the junior collected two hits and two RBIs at the plate.
Birch allowed six hits and four earned runs.
Honokaa 342 012 1 — 13 13 1
Pahoa 300 020 0 — 5 6 2
Hilo 13, Kohala 3: Josiah Factora went 3 for 4, and Micah Kaaukai (2 for 3), Noah Serrao (2-4, two doubles) and Jodd Carter (1-3, triple) each drove in two runs as the Vikings claimed their opener in Kapaau.
Freshman Nick Antony started for Hilo and struck out two in 3 1/3 innings to get the win.
Ricky Ching hit a three-run home run for the Cowboys (1-1).
Austin Salvador-Racoma, the first of six pitchers, was the loser for Kohala. He struck out one and walked one and allowed five hits in 1 1/3 innings.
Hilo 373 00 —13 12 1
Kohala 012 30—3 3 6