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Life matters Award
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveApril 28, 2018, 7:20pm
Sat, Apr 28, 2018 @ [ 2:00 pm ]
W: Milton Gainey III L: Kiyo Perry
SFS: Zach Alcos 2-3 run 2 rbi HR; Darian Kamibayashi 1.3 IP 0 ERDMS: Pomai Kim 2-3 2 runs 3 rbi 2 HR; Milton Gainey III 4.3 ER 4 ER
WAIPAHU — Pomai Kim's first two swings Saturday resulted in home runs. It was that kind of day for Damien.
The Monarchs unleashed 12 hits — all of them singles but Kim's pair of dingers — and scored in all but two innings to retain their Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division II baseball crown with an 11-7 win over Saint Francis Saturday afternoon.
A crowd of about 300 fans was on hand to witness the winner-take-all playoff at Hans L'Orange Park and saw Damien claim its fourth win over the Saints in a week to improve to 12-7 and claim the league's lone berth in next month's Wally Yonamine Foundation State Championships.
"It feels unbelievable, moreso because I know what work these guys put in throughout the season and, you know, granted it was a hard road because we had to come back, win the tournament and then come in and play them again knowing our games with them you just don't know, it's always close and you can flip a coin," Monarchs coach Timo Donahue said.
Saint Francis dropped eight of its final 10 games to end the season with a 9-10 record.
The Monarchs senior trio of Kim (2 for 3, walk) Akila Arecchi (3 for 5) and Kaimana Cameron (4 for 4) combined to drive in nine runs and scored six more.
"I know our offense and our thing is swinging the bat. Throughout the season I kept telling our guys that we're an offensive team first and I didn't think we'd put up eleven (runs), but it doesn't surprise me," Donahue said, whose team registered a hit in every inning but the seventh.
Damien got the scoring started in the top of the second inning, when Cameron led off with a single. Two batters later Cameron cranked the first pitch he saw from Saint Francis starting pitcher Kiyo Perry over the fence in left field.
Cameron doubled his team's lead on swing an inning later. Paul Mezurashi drew a lead off walk, Akila Arecchi reached on a bunt single and Shiloh Kaeo pushed both runners into scoring position with a perfectly-executed sacrifice bunt. Two batters later Cameron lined a single to center field to plate both base runners.
"It was kind of contagious, you could say, because once someone hops on hitting then it's going to continue on to the next guy and the next guy and it spreads like cancer, like our coach says, but we did have a game plan, everybody had a game plan coming into this game. We knew who were getting from the beginning because (Perry) was eligible today, so we knew we were getting him. He did good, he pitched strikes, but we just hopped on it and scored more," Cameron said.
Saint Francis got back a pair of runs in the bottom of the third, but the Monarchs' hit parade was just getting started.
Kim led off the Damien fourth with a first-pitch home run to nearly the same spot he crushed his first dinger to make it a 5-2 lead.
"The first pitch was a curveball and then the second at-bat was a change-up," Kim recalled. "I knew they were going to throw me change-ups because the whole last three games I was batting like average. I wasn't doing that bad but I was getting there."
Damien added a run in the frame on Arecchi's two-out single to score Kaysen Kajiwara.
Cameron drove in another run with his RBI-double to plate Jordan Donahue and one batter later, he came around to score on an RBI-single by Kamakami Motas. That stretched the Monarchs lead to 8-2, but the Saints sent eight batters to the plate and scored four runs on three hits in the bottom of the fifth to cut the deficit to two runs.
Arecchi's two-run single that was part of a three-run sixth inning provided some insurance for Damien, which took an 11-6 lead into the bottom of the seventh.
The Saints got back-to-back base hits from Yamasaki and Greison Visoria, followed by a walk to Alek Miyasato to load the bases for Reese Kadota. Kadota hit a ground ball to shortstop, that allowed one run to score. However, Cameron got the next batter, Chase Akaka, to line out to Kajiwara at second, who then threw to Motas at first base for a game-ending double play.
"It's high pressure no matter what, because it's such a big game but I felt comfortable because I had that lead, because of my teammates scoring runs for me and all the other pitchers," said Cameron, who has a 1.85 earned run average in nine appearances this season.
Cameron was the third Damien pitcher used Friday. Milton Gainey III, another senior, scattered eight hits and two walks with one strikeout in 4 1/3 innings. He allowed six runs, four of them earned, and was the winning pitcher.
"I think Milton did a good job. I just think maybe he got tired — I don't know what it was — but he handed the ball off to the next guy and I told them when we talked about it (Thursday) after practice that it's going to take a team effort. I don't care who gets the credit — they shouldn't either — just everybody play for each other and in the end, we should be able to come out on top," said Donahue, who credited his class of nine seniors for its perseverance.
"Unbelievable and that was our talk this week, that if we got to this point in this game, we were going to leave it in the hands of the seniors and they all clutched up today, every single one of them," Donahue said.
Cameron said it was a matter of stepping up in the biggest game of the season while staying within themselves.
"All the seniors had to respond and all the seniors did respond. We stayed on our teammates, kept them cheering, backing everybody up, doing what their roles are, so the seniors had a big role in this but also this team played a big role in winning this game," Cameron said.
Perry allowed eight runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings and was charged with the loss.
It was Perry's sixth appearance against the Monarchs this season.
"I think it adds up. I mean, the more you see a guy, the more comfortable you get facing him and you can't expect him to go out and throw how he's been throwing every game he goes out there. Even pitchers have slumps, too, so I just credit our guys, they took good swings, swung at good pitches and made him work," Donahue said.
Bubba Akana batted 3 for 4 with a double and two runs scored, Zach Alcos was 2 for 3 with a two-run home run and a walk, Yamasaki went 3 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored and Visoria was for 2 for 4 with a run scored to lead Saint Francis at the plate.
It was the eight meeting between the teams this season, with the Monarchs having won five of them.
Damien defeated Saint Francis in a winner-take-all playoff for the ILH championship last season, 2-1 in eight innings, before going on to reach the D2 state final against Kauai.
"I think that we took the same approach as last year, taking one game at a time, and we just drilled that into them, not looking too far ahead because that's when you start getting into trouble and these guys, credit to them, that's the attitude we came into every game with and we won every time," Donahue said.
The state tournament will take place May 9-11 at Hans L'Orange Park and Les Murakami Stadium.
Kaiser ended Kahuku's nine-year reign to win its first OIA championship.
Trojans won their first girls title since 2008 while Rams won their 20th boys title.
Sabers down Mules for second consecutive OIA title and seeded state tournament berth.
A seven-run sixth inning helped the Bulldogs end their 10-year title drought.
Red Raiders and Kaiser will meet in a rematch for the OIA Championship.
Leilehua is seeking its first league crown, while Campbell is trying for its seventh.