Posted: May 10, 2012 - 6:48pm
Third-seeded Waiakea edges Pearl City, 2-1
The Warriors (19-0) advance to Friday's title game for the first time since 1996, when they lost to Iolani. They will face fourth seeded Baldwin (15-1), which beat Hilo 6-2 in the other semifinal, in the first all-Neighbor Island finale since Baldwin beat Waimea, 10-7, in 13 innings in 1984.
It will be an amazing matchup, as the teams combined have only one loss. Waiakea is looking for its first title, while Baldwin is seeking its first since 1995 and fifth overall. The Warriors are tying to be the first team to finish unbeaten since Hilo did it in 1985 (14-0). Other known undefeated state champions are: Radford (1979, 20-0), Aiea (1973, 20-0), Punahou (1972, 17-0-1, and 1961, 15-0), Kailua (1965 and 1967, both 14-0).
"We feel very confident," Waiakea coach Kevin Yee said. "We still have a lot of game in us. The kids are very excited right now. We're looking forward to tomorrow."
Kodi Medeiros pitched the distance for the Warriors, allowing a run, three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. With the game tied at 1 in the top of the seventh, he stranded the go-ahead run on second to preserve the lead.
"My fastball was working really good," Kodi Medeiros said. "It was tailing a lot and sometimes it would sink. The cutter was sharp the the changeup was real good."
Kodi Medeiros struggled in the sixth, when the Chargers sent seven batters to the plate. But only one scored and they left the bases full.
In the bottom of the seventh against reliever Tanner Tokunaga, Pinch hitter Dean Hosaka led off with a walk and was lifted for pinch runner Rylen Kawazoe, who took second on Quintin Torres-Costa's single to left. Both advanced on a wild pitch before Kean Wong walked. Matthew Camacho pinch ran at third base and the Chargers pulled in their infield and outfield to stop the winning run and brought in Sumi Pruett from first base to face Korin Medeiros, who a 2-0 pitch just over shortstop Tyler Tokunaga for the game-winner.
"I was just trying to hit it up the middle and everything went in our favor today," Korin Medeiros said.
Pruett had pitched 5 2/3 innings of relief the previous night in Pearl City's 3-1 win against second-seeded Mid-Pacific. It was a tough choice for Chargers' coach Mitch Yamato.
"He was my go-to guy during my whole (coaching) career," Yamato said.
"We were very fortunate in that situation," Yee said. "The guys clutched up and came through with timely at bats, the big one with Dean getting on with a walk. Anyway you can get on base, that's what we tell them we're looking for."
Pearl City starter Reid Akau went 5 2/3 innings, allowing a run, five hits and a walk with one strikeout .
"Going into it, we knew they were a very deep team," Yee said. "They have a lot of pitching, so for us, we just needed to stay within ourselves and play our game."
The Warriors took a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Davy Camacho led off with a bunt single to third, went to second on Reyn Kihara's sacrifice and an out later, scored on Robbey Meguro's triple to right.
Pearl City tied it in the sixth when Pruett led off with a single and was pulled for pinch runner Jordan Mendiola, who took second on Matt Tsutomi's sacrifice. Jason Komoda was hit by a pitch and Tyler Tokunaga's single to center loaded the bases with one out. But Akau struck out before Tanner Tokunaga waked to force across the tying run.
For the Chargers, there will be no defense of last year's title. But they made strong run against the only undefeated team in the state.
"It was a good game," Yamato said. "It could've gone both ways."