It wasn’t Waiakea senior left-hander Kodi Medeiros’ pitching that stood out, rather it was his defense as a center fielder, his part-time job aside from team ace.
Medeiros and Matt Camacho each made game-saving catches as Waiakea prevailed over Kamehameha 8-7 in extra innings in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation baseball game Friday at Wong Stadium.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Kamehameha had a chance for a walk-off win with two on and two out. Makoa Rosario, the No. 3 hitter, ripped a pitch to deep right field that looked like a game-winning double. But Camacho made an over-the-shoulder diving catch.
The players were revved up and momentum swung Waiakea’s way. The visitors pushed ahead the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth when Medeiros led off with an infield single, and then Taylor Mondina hit an RBI sacrifice fly off Jordan Hirae.
Kamehameha had one last chance to answer off Waiakea sophomore right-hander Caleb Freitas-Fields, putting a runner on third base with two out. Like Rosario, Micah Carter got a good pitch to hit and sent a rocket to center field, where Medeiros made an over-the-shoulder running catch.
That ended an eight-inning, back-and-forth thriller that featured technical small-ball attacks against Medeiros, who started and lasted 3 2/3 innings, and Kamehameha starter Kobi Candaroma.
“It felt good to finally secure that win,” Medeiros said. “I tracked the ball right off the bat, ran it down and caught it. It’s a great win for us. It showed the coaches that we can execute on the field and that we don’t give up.
“Matt had a really great catch. He went all out, took a dive and caught it. It really boosted our team’s morale.”
Medeiros didn’t have his best stuff and allowed five runs (one unearned) on three hits and six walks. He struck out six, and threw 92 pitches, increasing his pitch count when two runners reached after striking out on wild pitches.
However, there were a handful of Major League Baseball scouts, who were more interested in his stuff than his pitching line. Medeiros’ fastball sat in the 92-mph range and topped out at 94 mph.
Like Medeiros, Freitas-Fields wasn’t sharp and often pitched into trouble, but he often stomped out small fires before they became bigger. He went 4 1/3 innings for the win, gave up two runs (one unearned) on one hit and five walks, and struck out four.
“We never gave up. We went up and they came back and we came back again,” Waiakea coach Jensen Sato said. “The kids willed their way to this win. Kodi wasn’t at his best, but he was good enough to keep us in the game. Every day you’re not going to have your best stuff. It’s what you do on days when you don’t have it. He showed a lot of guts, and so did Caleb.”
When Kamehameha put runners on, the Division II Warriors ran the bases with abandon. They went 4 for 4 on steals. And despite getting 11 free bases, only three runs came around on walks.
Meanwhile, the Division I Warriors drew just four walks, but bunched together 11 hits and manufactured runs when timely bunts and basehits. For example, Nate Minami doubled in the fifth and Ryder Oshiro put down a bunt on two strikes that led to a 5-5 tie on Mondina’s RBI groundout.
Candaroma went 3 1/3 innings and allowed four runs (two unearned) on six hits and one walk. He struck out two and was relieved by Hirae in the fourth with two on and one out.
Hirae, who entered with a string of eight scoreless relief innings, shut down the threat. But he got tagged with the loss in 4 2/3 innings. The senior right-hander surrendered four runs on five hits and three walks and whiffed two.
No one paired hits for Kamehameha, which had more than its share of scoring opportunities with 11 stranded runners, including the bases full in the third, when Medeiros yielded four runs but escaped with a strikeout.
Camacho and Minami each batted 2 for 4 with an RBI, Mondina 2 for 3 with two RBIs, and Medeiros went 2 for 3 with two walks for Waiakea, which also left 11 men on base.
Waiakea 030 112 01 — 8 11 2
KSH 014 002 00 — 7 4 1