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Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveFebruary 28, 2018, 8:26pm
Wed, Feb 28, 2018 @ [ 3:30 pm ]
W: Shion Matsushita L: Christian DeJesus
KSK: Vince Venenciano 2-3 run 2 rbi HR; Christian DeJesus 2.3 IP 1 ER 2 KMPI: Wyatt Young 3-4 3 runs rbi 2 dbl trp; Shion Matsushita 5.3 ER 3 ER
HAWAII KAI — Mid-Pacific busted out the bats in a 14-5 rout of Kamehameha to open the Interscholastic League of Honolulu baseball season Wednesday afternoon.
Kyle Layugan drove in four runs, including a three-run home run that was part of a five-run second inning, to lead the Owls (1-0) past the Warriors (0-1) before a crowd of about 100 fans at Mike Goeas Field.
Eight different players registered a hit for Mid-Pacific and six different players drove in at least one run.
"I don't think we had 16 hits all of last year," quipped Dunn Muramaru, the 32nd-year coach of the Owls.
Layugan's one-out single to score leadoff hitter Wyatt Young in the top of the first inning gave MPI an early lead, which it added to with frequency throughout the game.
The Owls sent eight batters to the plate in the second inning. Micah Pi singled and came around to score when Young reached on an error and Jacob Yoshino drove in Hunter Hirayama with a two-out single before Layugan swatted a 1-1 offering from Kamehameha starting pitcher Christian DeJesus over the fence in left field to quickly make it a 6-0 lead.
"I was looking away, but I saw that pitch come up and in, so I just turned on it really hard," Layugan said.
The hit parade took Muramaru by surprise.
"I didn't expect hitting the ball like this so, I mean, I guess they took it upon themselves to hit," he said. "It's good when you get a lead and then we kept hitting, so that was good."
The Warriors committed two of their three errors in the top of the third inning. DeJesus issued back-to-back walks to Cameron Ching and Pi before he was pulled for reliever Kamahao Arita. Both runners eventually scored to stretch the MPI lead to 8-0.
Kalei Kim's one-out single in the bottom of the third was the first hit allowed by Owls' starter Shion Matsushita, who allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings pitched. He struck out one and walked one to earn the win.
"Shion was good. I mean, he struggled a little bit in the beginning but then with a lead like that, basically he was just trying to throw it over and let them hit. So that's why he got hit a little bit," Muramaru said. "I think if it was a little tighter (score) he'd be throwing more stuff, but we just told him ‘pound the zone, force them to hit the ball and they're not going to score that many runs if they just hit the ball.' "
Matsushita allowed consecutive singles by Vince Venenciano and Mattingly Ho to open the Kamehameha fifth. A wild pitch allowed both runners to move into scoring position before Kalei Kim's ground ball out brought courtesy runner Kala Burnett to score from third to cut the MPI lead to 9-2. Matsuhita then got leadoff batter Chaesten Chon to strike out looking for the second out of the inning.
"I felt like it was a confidence-booster," said Matsushita, a senior right-handed pitcher. "I kept getting hit so that was a big confidence booster to help me out."
Matsushita, who has an unorthodox side-arm delivery, registered 10 ground-ball outs, four fly-ball outs and just one strikeout.
"He did an amazing job. He just kept pounding the zone, throwing strikes and keeping the batters on their toes," said Layugan, Matsushita's battery-mate behind the plate.
Matsushita said he relied on his fastball as well as his defense.
"My fastball had a lot of movement, so I just kept throwing it, letting them hit and letting my defense work. That's basically what I did all game," said Matsushita, who went 2-3 with a 3.90 ERA in 32 1/3 innings pitched last season.
"Knowing that I had a lot of run support I felt more comfortable. Even if I got hit, I was able to just keep throwing. They really backed me up and I felt a lot more comfortable on the mound," Matsushita continued.
Muramaru is hopeful that Matsushita will be able to parlay the outing into a solid ILH season.
"He did a good job of keeping us ahead and pitching how he's supposed to pitch with a big lead — that's important," Muramaru said. "They've got to understand the game. it's different pitching up six, seven runs and pitching when it's tight, so hopefully it'll give him a little confidence."
The Warriors added a run in the frame on Mark Liberato's two-out RBI-single to plate Ho but would get no closer as the Owls added two insurance runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh.
"We just couldn't make a play early on," Kamehameha interim coach Kahi Kaanoi said. "We fell behind quickly and we just needed to back up our pitchers there a little bit better, but it's stuff that we need to work on and get better with."
Venenciano went 2 for 3 and hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning, and Jonny Shimabukuro batted 2 for 4 for the Warriors, who used four pitchers in the loss.
"I thought we had some good at-bats. Maybe we were a little nervous there first day out, (but) we made our adjustments and started jumping on him and came around near the end," Kaanoi said.
DeJesus allowed eight runs, only one of them earned, on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts and was tagged with the loss.
Yoshino batted 2 for 5 with two RBIs and two runs scored, and Ching went 2 for 3 with a double, two RBI, a walk and a run scored. Young, a Pepperdine signee, finished a homer short of the cycle with an RBI and three runs scored. Jet Uechi and Pi also paired hits and scored twice for MPI.
"I think we were kind of looking for this because before the preseason, coach has been telling us, ‘play with no fear,' and I think that's finally clicked for us so I think it's a good example for us that we're all committed to this team and we're all in," Layugan said.
Michael China, who started the game as the designated hitter, registered the final five outs for the Owls.
It was the first regular-season game for the Warriors since a coaching change in late January. Kaanoi, who graduated from the Kapalama campus in 2000 before a six-year minor-league career, was hired on an interim basis on Feb. 7 to replace former coach Tommy Perkins, who compiled a 32-21 record in three seasons, including a 16-8 record and state semifinal-round appearance last year.
Despite the shortened time frame that Kaanoi and his coaching staff have had with his players, he did not allow it to be a crutch for the lopsided season-opening result.
"There's no excuses. We've just got to come out a little bit more ready than that, a little bit more hungry, but we'll be ready to go, get back to practice tomorrow and work on what we need to work on," Kaanoi said.
It was Mid-Pacific's first win over Kamehameha since April 7, 2016. The Warriors swept all three meetings last season against the Owls, who went 6-10 and failed to qualify for the state tournament.
Both teams next play Saturday as part of a tripleheader at Ala Wai Field. MPI will play Punahou at 9 a.m., Kamehameha will face Maryknoll at noon and Saint Louis and PAC-5 will meet at 3 p.m.
Twelve student-athletes, including the first from Lanai, will be honored June 2.
The Campbell senior shortstop batted 0.524 through the OIA regular season and playoffs.
The Kailua senior led all Division I pitchers with 72 strikeouts on the year.
The Marauders' third baseman helped the team go undefeated in the regular season.
The Mililani senior outside hitter won the award two years ago as a first-year setter.
Na Menehune senior was a six-rotation player that attacked from all areas of the court.