Hawaiian Electric Game of the Week
Govs to host defending champion Seariders

The 2017 baseball season was a special one for Waianae.

The Seariders captured their third Division II league championship and sixth overall Oahu Interscholastic Association title. They won their first 12 games before back-to-back state tournament losses against Hawaii Prep and Farrington ended their season abruptly.

Waianae's 2018 season will start off how the last one ended: against the Governors.

The Seariders and Govs (3-0) face off Saturday at Joey Desa Field. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Under first-year coach Bernard Beaver, Waianae posted a 12-2 record, including a perfect 12-0 mark in OIA play that resulted in the program's first league crown since 2014.

Beaver was selected as All-OIA D2 Coach of the Year and then-junior Braedyn Chong earned league Player of the Year honors and was a First Team All-Hawaii utility player.

Chong, a left-handed pitcher and outfielder, went 4-0 with an earned run average of 2.08. In 27 innings, he allowed eight earned run on 13 hits with 52 strikeouts against 22 walks. At the plate he posted a .535 batting average with 23 hits, 18 runs scored and 17 RBI in 43 at-bats.

In addition to Chong, Waianae returns four other first team All-OIA selections in 2017. They are second baseman Teva Foster, shortstop Braiden Ayala, outfielder Matt Orian and utility player Macaiah Borling. Also, All-OIA second team pitcher Kaleo Akiona, Saturday's projected starting pitcher, returns for his junior season.

"They're just a solid, well-rounded team," Farrington coach Eric Tokunaga said. "They're fully loaded with what they've got coming back from last year — they only had one senior on last year's team — so we're in for a battle. We just want to survive."

The Seariders and Govs played twice last year. Waianae won the regular-season meeting, 3-1, but lost an elimination game to Farrington, 7-4 in six innings, in a consolation round of the state tournament.

"They've got good arms, they play tough defense, they can swing the bats, so they're just a good, tough team all the way around. I don't think they have any glaring weaknesses," Tokunaga said of the defending champs.

The Governors also return a veteran group off of last year's 11-5 campaign that included a third-place finish in the OIA tournament and a sixth-place showing at the state tournament.

Reese Shioji batted .426 with 23 hits, 18 runs scored and 17 RBI in 54 at-bats as a freshman third baseman last year and was an All-OIA and All-Hawaii first team selection.

Back for their season seasons are a trio of All-OIA first teamers in outfielder Cisqo Sagucio, pitcher Trey Kaawa and utility player Chasen Castilliano.

The Govs are off to a 3-0 start this year, including a 4-1 win over Waialua Wednesday that saw them rally with a four-run sixth inning. Junior pitcher Treven Isobe scattered six hits with five strikeouts and no walks in six innings of work to go to 2-0 on the year.

"I guess we got lucky against Waialua," Tokunaga said. "So far we've been playing tough defense, but like everything else, our pitchers gotta throw strikes, we gotta make the routine plays, get the easy outs — that's what we always emphasize — but we can be hot and cold."

Tokunaga is having to mix and match players in new positions to overcome some injuries.

Brennan Caspillo, the starter at shortstop, has been hospitalized for two weeks with a collapsed lung.

"He had a good preseason and was just starting to come around and then all of a sudden he has a shortness of breath and went in for a check-up and never made it back since then," Tokunaga said.

Caspillo's injury has triggered a domino effect of moves. Freshman Cody Pilor went from second base to shortstop and Shioji slotted into Pilor's regular spot at second.

In a 14-1 win over Nanakuli to open the season, Pilor homered with five RBI, two walks, a stolen base and three runs scored.

Shioji went 2 for 4 with a triple, two RBI and a run scored in an 8-0 win over Waialua.

"We've had a lot of injuries," said Tokunaga, who added first baseman Jayden Soriano (fever) to the list of players unavailable Saturday. 

"We've been really depleted, so in that sense I'm kind of happy that our backup guys are ready to play and that they've performed pretty good. We've been kind of running on thin ice right now, but we've been playing well so we've been lucky. Everybody has been doing their share."

Tokunaga said Friday afternoon that is still unsure of his starting pitcher, but it is Kaawa's turn in the rotation. He did not allow a hit in six scoreless innings to get the win against Waialua. Kaawa struck out 10 and walked three in his only outing this season.

Saturday's game will be the first of two regular-season meetings between Waianae and Farrington.

The Seariders will host the Govs on March 28.

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].



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