Posted: April 28, 2012 - 8:46pm
Kailua holds off Moanalua, 3-1, to capture OIA Red title
Kailua players celebrate after defeating Moanalua for the OIA Red division title. Greg Yamamoto | SL
Behind the philosophies and mechanics taught by renowned former major league pitching coach Tom House, three Surfrider pitchers combined on a four-hitter in 3-1 win against Moanalua for Oahu Interscholastic Association Red baseball championship at Hans L'Orange Park.
Starting pitcher Bryce Ah Sam, middle reliever Jacob Cobb-Adams and closer Kea Vierra helped the Surfriders (14-1) capture their first league crown since 2005 and 12th overall. Kailua's title in 2005 was against Moanalua, which won its first league title last year.
"We worked hard this year," Kailua coach Corey Ishigo said of his pitching staff. "We worked on Tom House mechanics and it paid off in this tournament. He comes down to Hawaii to work with us. It helped our pitching tremendously throughout the year. We were injury free. Our guys were throwing harder."
Armed with a 2-0 lead, the left-handed Ah Sam took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before allowing a lead-off single to center by Bryson Yasui, who took second on Casey Isa's sacrifice to the pitcher. Tyler Fujimoto's single put runners at the corners. Ishigo brought in right-hander Jacob Cobb-Adams to face Jake Nakagawa, whose sacrifice fly to center accounted for Moanalua's only run. Cobb-Adams then struck out Mark Kuga to snuff the threat.
After a scoreless sixth, Cobb-Adams got the first two outs in the top of the seventh before allowing a single to Fujimoto. Vierra, came in from left field to face Nakagawa, who walked. But Vierra came back to strike out pinch hitter Jaraad Salas to end the game and notch his third save in as many games.
"Coach Corey told me (after Friday's semifinal win) 'Don't be surprised if you get the ball tomorrow,'" Ah Sam said. "I heard that someone else was pitching. When he told me I was getting the ball, I was ready. I knew what I had to do."
He said House's philosophies worked for him.
"When was stuff wasn't working (early in the season), Coach Corey told me to pitch the Tom House style," Ah Sam said. "I tired to cope with it, tried to do my best. It felt great."
Ah Sam, who allowed a run, two hits and a walk with six strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings, said one of House's rules was to repeat the same pitching motion.
The Surfriders jumped on Moanalua starting pitcher Kekoa Kaulukukui in the bottom of the first inning with an aggressive style in taking a 2-0 lead.
Vierra was nicked on the first pitch from Kaulukukui to get aboard and took second on Wyatt D'Alessio's sacrifice to third; third baseman Isa's throw was wide, allowing the batter to reach safely at first. Kila Zuttermeister ripped the first pitch to center for an RBI single and Elijah Davidann did the same on an RBI single to right. Zuttermeister stole third to put runners at the corners. But Isa made a diving stop on Kaipo Oamilda-Scholtz's grounder and threw out Zuttermeister at the plate. Kaulukukui struck out Ah Sam to end the inning, but the damage was done.
"The lead-off runner is always important," Vierra said. "But guys in back of me like Wyatt and Kila, they came through with the hit and the bunt. Kailua baseball is like that."
"They just were ready," Moanalua coach Scott Yamada said. "They swung the bat, they were aggressive. The first inning, they got on us early and put us in a hole. But that's part of baseball. We chipped away. We had our chances. But the better team won tonight."
Moanalua cut its deficit in half in the fifth, but Cobb-Adams minimized the damage by retiring the two batters he faced to end the inning. And when Moanalua threatened with two out in the seventh against Cobb-Adams, Vierra extinguished the flames to get the final out after walking a batter.
Kailua will draw a first-round bye in the Division I state tournament May 8 to 11 at Les Murakami Stadium. The OIA's representatives are champion Kailua, runner-up Moanalua, third place Pearl City, fourth place Kaiser and fifth place Castle. Campbell, which lost 2-1 to Castle for fifth place, will travel to the Big Island to play BIIF runner-up Hilo, 3 p.m. Wednesday at Wong Stadium for the final state berth.
April 28, 2012
Kailua starter Bryce Ah Sam throws a pitch to the plate against Moanalua. Greg Yamamoto | SL