OIA Baseball
Trojans score early, hold off 'Canes in opener


Thu, Mar 7, 2019 @ [ 3:00 pm ]

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Kapolei 0 000000032
Mililani 2 0 0000X231

W: Jason Shiigi    L: Izeth Owens-Kalaola    SV: Reid Madriaga

MIL: Vance Oshiro 1-3 run rbi dbl; Jason Shiigi 5.0 IP 0 ER 3 K
KAP: Jahshua Yacapin 1-1; Izeth Owens-Kalaola 6.0 ER 1 ER 2 K

MILILANI — Jason Shiigi and Reid Madriaga combined to throw a three-hitter and made a couple of first-inning runs hold up as host Mililani fended off visiting Kapolei, 2-0, in the regular-season opener for both teams Thursday.

A crowd of about 100 fans on a chilly and sometimes rainy afternoon in Central Oahu saw the Trojans (1-0) open defense of their Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I championship with a victory over the Hurricanes (0-1) in a brisk 84 minutes.

Shiigi, a senior right-handed pitcher, allowed just five Kapolei base runners in his five innings of work to get the win. The lone hit he surrendered was Alex Rodriguez's single to left field with two outs in the top of the third inning.

"He's got a good arm, it's just a matter of being a little more consistent and being able to hit his spots," Mililani coach Mark Hirayama said of Shiigi. "Jason still gotta find his command, he's gotta be a little bit sharper with his pitches. He's got good stuff, but against quality hitters, he's going to have to hit his spots a little bit better, so we've got some ways to go there."

Shiigi struck out three batters — two of them looking and the other a swing-and-miss one batter after the Rodriguez hit — but also struggled with his location at times. Three of the four walks he issued came with two outs.

Jason Shiigi allowed just five Kapolei base runners in his five innings of work to get the win. Spencer Honda | SL    Purchase image

"We get two quick outs and then kind of lose our focus and put guys on and we do that and anything can happen — a little bloop can fall in, or something off of one of our fielders and it could be a totally different story — so we gotta stay focused through the complete inning and finish what we start," Hirayama said.

Early on in the contest, Shiigi overwhelmed the Hurricanes bats with his fastball. He retired the first five batters he faced before back-to-back two-out walks, but got out of the jam by inducing a ground ball off the bat of Ivan Moniz to second baseman JR Suehisa, who fielded it cleanly and made the easy throw over to first baseman Ethan Thomas for the third out.

In the top of the fourth, Suehisa made a spectacular diving stop on a ball well behind the bag at second and threw out the runner, Leo Ishii-Hao, just in time at first for the second out of the inning.

"That's routine for him," Hirayama said of Suehisa, a junior. "He'll make that play better than he makes the routine one. That's just the way he plays. He plays hard and goes after everything; he's a spitfire."

Shiigi, who accounted for five of Kapolei's eight base runners it left stranded, gave way to Madriaga to start the Kapolei sixth. Madriaga, a junior right-hander, quickly got three outs in three pitches, but ran into some trouble in the top half of the seventh.

After retiring the first two hitters, Madriaga walked Ivan Moniz, then gave up back-to-back singles on a blooper into short right center field by pinch hitter Jahshua Yacapin and a dribbler deep into the hole at shortstop to load the bases. The next batter, Jeremiah Lono worked the count to 2-2 before he chopped a ball to third baseman Vance Oshiro, who took it himself to the bag for the game's final out.

"I think Reid did a great job. He came in, threw strikes, got ahead of a lot of guys," said Hirayama.

Hirayama was especially pleased with the way Madriaga was able to mix his pitches effectively.

"You look at Reid, he doesn't throw as hard, but when he throws his curveball for strikes so they start sitting on the curveball, now his fastball looks a little bit quicker and they get surprised by that," said Hirayama, who allowed Madriaga to work out of the jam himself, without a mound visit.

"He was doing a good job. The one in the hole was just hit too slow to do anything and he was throwing strikes and that's all we can ask of our guys is give us a chance to make plays and so it wasn't like he put a bunch of guys on by walking or he was all over the place — I think he only threw like 27 pitches in a couple innings — and that's the only way they're gonna learn, too. You get yourself into the mess, you better be able to get yourself out," Hirayama said.

Mililani scored both of its runs in the opening frame.

After Shiigi retired the Kapolei side in order in the top of the first, JR Suehisa drew a four-pitch walk to lead off the bottom half of the inning. Suehisa moved into scoring position with a steal of second base and then advanced to third on Ethan Thomas' one-out single on a blooper into short right field to put runners at the corners.

Suehisa came home one pitch later, when Vance Oshiro reached on a fielder's choice by beating out a potential inning-ending double-play at first, but Thomas was erased at second on the force out. Taylor Inouye then hit the first pitch he saw into right center, but it was mishandled by the right fielder, which allowed Oshiro to score all the way from first.

"That first inning kind of got to us and it was the first inning and a lot of jitters for our kids, they're all young," Kapolei coach Tommy Ebanez said. "Even though we have a few juniors out there, they hardly played last year so the (lack of) experience, you could see it there."

Kapolei starter Izeth Owens-Kalaola settled in to give up just two hits after allowing two runs in the first inning. Spencer Honda | SL

After the first inning, however, Hurricanes starting pitcher Izeth Owens-Kalaola settled. He allowed just two hits the rest of the way, none of whom passed second base.

"He did a great job. He just went up there and threw the curveball for strikes," Hirayama said. "Like I was talking about before, he threw the curveball for strikes, mixed in the fastball a little bit, kind of just kept us off balance and offensively we didn't make any adjustments to what he was doing and flying out, pop up, flying out, pop up, so we gotta do a better job of staying inside the ball, let it get deeper and hit the ball up the middle or the other way. We just didn't make our adjustments, but I think he did a great job for them as far as keeping us in a ballgame."

Kapolei is coming off a sixth-place finish in the OIA D1 West last season. It is a relatively young squad again this year, with just two seniors on the roster.

"We're trying to do things to make our kids the most successful that they can be and it was just wasn't the time right now, but these are the kind of moments that they learn and grow and we build upon it," Ebanez said. "The goal this season is we're going to give our effort till the end, from the first pitch to the last pitch, no matter what the outcome is, so it kind of made them a little bit relaxed going into the last inning knowing that, hey, they're gonna give their all and whatever the outcome is, you know, whatever happens, happens."

The Hurricanes will play three of their next four games at home, starting with geographic rival — and perennial league power — Campbell Saturday.

"We accept the challenge. That's what makes our kids and our program a lot better, is when you play good programs like Campbell and Mililani and Aiea and stuff," Ebanez said.

The Trojans, who took both regular-season games from Kapolei last year, will host Waianae Saturday.

Thursday's game was originally scheduled to be played Wednesday, but was pushed back a day due to wet field conditions at Mililani. The teams will play again on March 29, at Kapolei.

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].




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