Posted: April 13, 2012 - 11:41pm
Mililani rallies in seventh to edge 'Aiea, 7-6
The Trojans built a 3-1 lead through 3 1/2 innings, scoring a run in the first off a Justin Revilla single that scored Landon Ogomori, then another in the second on an Ekolu Ramos base hit that brought home Shanztyn Agbayani-Shibao, and again the the top of the fourth on a Troy Kakugawa RBI single past the shortstop.
But 'Aiea would break through in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases on two hit batters and a John Woodin single. Daylan Pajimola's single down the left line would bring home Kaulana Wong and Tyren Takasawa to tie the score at 3-all.
Then, with two outs, Pajimola and Woodin would advance a base on a wild pitch, and would both score on a Trevor Ling single to give 'Aiea a 5-3 advantage.
Na Ali'i would add an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth on another Ling single, leaving the Trojans with a three-run margin and just three outs to work with.
Seemingly unfazed, an opportunistic Trojans squad would make the most of the Na Ali'i's seventh inning missteps.
Travis Maekawa was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and following a strikeout, the throw to try and get the force at second on an Agbayani-Shibao ground got away from the second baseman, allowing Maekawa to reach third and Agbayani-Shibao second on the error.
On the next at-bat, Blane Namoca would draw a walk to load the bases for Ramos, who would lace a clutch single to right center, scoring Maekawa and Agbayani-Shibao.
The two-RBI single would cap off a perfect 4-for-4 day at the plate for Ramos.
"Ekolu (Ramos) is our ninth batter but he's probably one of our best athletes." said Mililani head coach Mark Hirayama.
Jacob Mariano would be issued an intentional walk to load the bases again, and Kakugawa would draw a walk on the next at-bat to bring home the tying run in pinch-runner Landon Ogomori.
Jordan Inouye would sneak a single between third and short to bring home Ramos for the go-ahead run, capping the Trojans' comeback.
"I told our guys to just try and get a good pitch to hit and if he's going to put us on, the next guy will do it. We were just fortunate to squeak a couple of runs in." said Hirayama.
'Aiea would have the last of the seventh to rally, and Kakugawa would be called upon to finish up the game for Mililani on the hill.
After giving up a leadoff walk to Kaulana Wong, a grounder back to the mound for the first out would move pinch-runner Wyland Daguro up to second. Patrick Villanueva would fly out to center field for the second out, leaving Aiea with one more at-bat to tie things up.
Daguro would steal third, giving Kakugawa the added pressure of having the tying run just 90 feet away. But Kakugawa would induce a towering pop-up in foul territory behind home plate, falling back to earth with just enough room for catcher Jamesson Madrid to make the game-ending grab.
"I was just trying to find the strike" said Kakugawa of his final pitch. "I couldn't throw a strike with my fastball, so I had to rely on my cutter. My catcher was calling good pitches, so I just had to believe in him."
Kakugawa was quick to credit his teammate's defensive effort behind him.
"I have a lot of faith in them. So I know once I throw strikes, I don't rnget a lot of strikeouts, but I know my defense will help me out."
Mililani improves to 5-6 in league play with a 2:00 p.m. rematch of 'Aiea (6-5) tomorrow back at home to finish up the regular season.
"It means a lot" remarked Kakugawa on today's win. "We haven't had the best season... but this gets us back on track, and hopefully into the playoffs with some motivation and confidence that we can win."
April 13, 2012
Mililani's Troy Kakugawa reacts to a pop-up that would be caught for the final out against 'Aiea. Brien Ing | SL
'Aiea pitcher Kaulana Wong throws a pitch against Mililani. Brien Ing | SL