HILO, Hawaii — Kamehameha-Hawaii's championship dreams died when a routine pop fly went high into the sky on the Warriors' final out of the seventh inning.
Then the heavens dropped a miracle.
The Warriors (20-1) scored the game's tying run on an error and went on to defeat Kapolei in eight innings, 5-4, to win their first-ever state title at Wong Stadium in the Wally Yonamine Foundation/Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II Baseball Championships Saturday night.
KS-Hawaii coach Andy Correa couldn't help but be choked up after the game as his father James, who was also an assistant coach, passed away in February at the age of 97.
"This was his place. We spent a lot of time here. I got to believe that went help, he helped us on that (play)," he said.
"We worked for this for a long, long time. I've been doing this for 27 years and I've been to 25 state tournaments, but this is the first one that we've won. It's an accomplishment for these boys and everybody in the program."
DallasJ Duarte, whose grandma also passed away earlier this year, drew a two-out walk with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth to score pinch hitter Kalai Klask-Hoopii for the game-winning run.
Daylen Calicdan went 0 for 4 at the plate, but pitched four and two-thirds innings in relief of Brandyn Lee-Lehano to notch the win.
"This feels unbelievable. It's everything I dreamed about and I can't explain it honestly," said Calicdan, who was named the tournament's most oustanding player. "We've waited so long for this. I've been working so hard my whole high school career and it finally came true."
The euphoria that the hometown KS-Hawaii fans were experiencing was nearly felt by the Kapolei faithful that flew over from Oahu. It was the first time the Hurricanes (15-1) came up on the losing end all season.
A potential Kapolei championship also had many storylines to tell as right-hander Zachary Collins was pitching in his first game of the season after coming back from an injury on his throwing arm. Collins kept the Warriors off balance after a shaky second and third inning, and was working on a three-hitter before running out of gas in the top of the seventh.
KS-Hawaii's nine-hole hitter Baron Victorino led off the frame with a walk and was sacrificed over to second by Kegan Miura. Duarte got on with a walk one batter later, which chased Collins. The Kapolei starter finished the game with eight strikeouts against seven walks and three earned runs.
Kamea Wong, who started in the Hurricanes' 9-0 semifinal win over Radford, got Calicdan to foul out to first base on the first batter he faced to leave the Warriors with one last out remaining to make something happen.
Things looked even bleak when cleanup hitter Makana Aiona got down early in the count and faced a 0-2 hole. With all odds stacked against him, Aiona took a swing and sent the ball high in the infield that made everyone in the ballpark hold their breath.
Kapolei third baseman Corey Slade waved everyone off and was in position to make the play, but he dropped it and Victorino came in to score the tying run to send Wong Stadium in a frenzy.
Kapolei got out of the jam after Jaisten Cabatbat flew out to center field and the Warriors retired the top of the Kapolei lineup in order in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings.
After Wong struck out Kyran Kai to begin the the eighth inning, Klask-Hoopii drew a walk. Kobie Kinzie's bunt-single moved Klask-Hoopii over and forced a pitching change with only one out on the board.
Brandyn Yoshida came over from the outfield to relieve Wong, getting off to a bad start after walking Victorino to load the bases. Yoshida struck out Miura looking for a crucial out, but Duarte was able to draw a base on balls for the game-winning run.
"My coach always taught me to breath. Breathing is key," said Duarte. "I knew that as the second batter in the lineup, I could afford to take a full count, and I just followed my instincts and went from there."
Mykah Kuratani grounded out to third base to before Joe Uesato reached on an error by Calicdan in the bottom of the eight. Calicdan struck out Joseph Ching looking for the second out and the Warriors began to feel it.
Kapolei would not go down quietly however. Andrei Stoyanow who finished the game batting 3 for 4 with an RBI double and a run scored, knocked in a single to shallow center field. Tristen Manoha-Diaz followed with a walk, his third of the game, to set up a dramatic finish with Yoshida on deck.
Yoshida chopped a ball over to Aiona, who was coming up from his post at third base, and was heading for the races. Aiona mishandled the ball on his first attempt to scoop it up, but was able to put out Stoyanow at third to seal the deal.
"We had our chances, but it's just how it goes," said Kapolei coach Tom Ebanez. "I'm still proud of these guys, guys still had a heck of a season. There's nothing for anybody to hang their heads on. We're proud to be Kapolei."
Kuratani's two-out RBI double in the bottom of the first inning plated Slade for the game's first score.
Aiona and Cabatbat drew back-to-back walks to begin the second inning which helped Lehano tie things up, 1-1, on an RBI double two batters later.
Stoyanow got on in the bottom of the frame with a two-out single and Yoshida brought him home to regain the lead for Kapolei, 2-1.
The Warriors responded with Kai's two RBI single in the top of the third to make it 3-2 in favor of KS-Hawaii.
Uesato led off the bottom of the fourth a single and scored on Stoyanow's RBI double to make it a tie game once again. He later had a sac fly in the fifth to plate Isaac Badua to give Kapolei its last lead of the game, 4-3.
Both teams will play at Mililani on Tuesday night.
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