Hawaiian Electric Game of the Week
Tanabe, Rough Riders handily defeat Knights


  



Sat, Mar 9, 2019 @ [ 2:00 pm ]


F/5TH 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Castle 0 0010XX153
Roosevelt 5 2 211XX11130

W: Zach Tanabe    L: Fabian Silva-Pokipala

ROOS: Zach Tanabe 2-3 run 2 rbi dbl trp / 5.0 IP 1 ER 4 K
CAST: Kalai Cabana-Zukeran 1-2 run; Keegan Kamaunu 2.3 ER 1 ER 2 K


MAKIKI — Zach Tanabe overcame a hand injury he suffered earlier in the week to lead Roosevelt to an 11-1 win over Castle Saturday afternoon in Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I East baseball at Stevenson Middle School.

The Rough Riders (2-0) rapped out 13 hits — five of them for extra bases — from seven different players, led by Chase Iwamuro's 3-for-4 effort from the leadoff spot. Ty Taguchi, Noa Mena and Tanabe drove in two runs apiece in the five-inning contest. Taguchi's RBI-triple with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning brought a end to the game due to the mercy rule.

Tanabe, a sophomore right-hander, scattered five hits and one walk with four strikeouts — three of them coming with runners on base — and needed 73 pitches to get through five innings. He threw first-pitch strikes to 12 of the 20 batters he faced with five ground-ball outs and five fly-ball outs.

Roosevelt coach AD Mols said on Friday that Tanabe's status for the game was up in the air due to some stitches he received in his right (throwing) hand that forced Tanabe to miss Wednesday's season-opening game at Kailua.

Clearly, the hand was of no hindrance to Tanabe Saturday, who was able to set-up and locate his fast ball with a consistent change-up.

"Yeah, the hand is good," Tanabe said. "I knew I was gonna pitch today, but I didn't know if it was gonna be ready, but it felt good today. When I first threw (Friday) and it was OK, I was pretty confident I would be able to throw today."

Mols said he gave Tanabe the option to push back his regular-season pitching debut to next week — when the stitches are set to be removed — but was turned back.

"I asked him if he just wanted to play the field today and he said, ‘I wanna pitch,' " Mols said. "He's one of those kids where — I mean, like his mom said he played one time with a broken wrist, you know, and he just kinda didn't say nothing and then finally he got it X-rayed kind of thing — so he's a tough kid. His hand was OK. I asked him how it was and he said that it wasn't bothering him the whole game."

The lone run Tanabe surrendered came on the top of the fourth inning, when Castle's Kalai Cabana-Zukeran led off with a first-pitch single and eventually scored on a delayed double steal. By then, however, the Rough Riders had built a nine-run lead.

Roosevelt struck for five runs in the bottom of the first. Rylan Terakawa drove in the game's first run with his RBI-single to score Iwamuro. Hostas Pang then came home after an RBI-ground ball off the bat of Ty Taguchi, who reached base after the throw from Cabana-Zukeran at shortstop pulled first baseman Shaden Borges off the bag. After a Noa Mena double down the left field line to put two runners in scoring position, Tanabe helped his own cause with a triple to the alley in left center that scored both base runners and give his team a 4-0 lead.

"I was just looking for the fastball where I wanted it — right down the middle, towards the inner side — and I got it so I just put a good piece on it. I felt like I got that one," said Tanabe, who batted sixth in the order Saturday.

Mols said the triple is indicative of the progress Tanabe has made in the weight room.

"He didn't hit too many balls like that last year," Mols said. "I think he was pumped up though. He didn't play the last game, he had that (hand) thing he was dealing with and once he got cleared he really wanted to play, he really wanted to pitch, so it was like his game and when you see a pitcher hit like that in his first at-bat, you know he's locked in and that he's gonna have a good game, so that's awesome for him."

Tanabe was plated two batters later on Reese Kisaba's two-out single past shortstop.

Mena's one-out single to center field in the bottom of the second brought both Pang and Terakawa in to score to extend Roosevelt's lead to 7-0. Iwamuro's third base hit of the day — a third-inning double — scored Kisaba from second. Iwamuro took third on a wild pitch by Castle reliever Keegan Kamaunu and scored on a passed ball by catcher Wyatt Lizama to make it a 9-0 lead after three complete.

Iwamuro also stole both of Roosevelt's bases.

"Chase, he's our fastest guy, so I mean, if he can put the ball in play and just get on he starts our lineup and then the guys behind him, they're good at just kind of keeping it simple, go with the pitch and if we can just kind of work that, swing at strikes, take balls, I think our lineup can move, but that's how we want to play," Mols said. "We kind of want to go first to third, get a guy on, put pressure on the D a little bit and just keep the chain moving. If we can do that, I think we'll be all right and then we've been focusing on base running because last year that was a little bit of a weakness, I felt like. Now it feels like, get guys on, if we can get to the next base or make the right read, that's kind of what happened today. We were hitting the ball good, but I think the base running really is improving for us."

After Cabana-Zukeran scored the Knights' lone run in the top of the fourth, Mena led off the bottom half of the frame with a walk. Tanabe then hit deep fly ball that was lost in the sun by the center fielder and dropped in for a double to put runners at the corners. Champ Smith reached on a fielder's choice and Mena scored on the play when the ball was dropped by Lizama on a tag attempt at the plate.

Roosevelt hitters struck out just twice and drew four walks. Pang scored three times and Iwamuro and Mena each scored twice. Seven different players scored at least one run.

"We don't even try to play too much small ball, but just understand the situation and if it's something that we want that run, how to manufacture it and understand the ways to manufacture it," Mols said. "We're getting a lot better and the seniors are actually having a lot better adjustment talk in the dugout that I've noticed, like a guy comes in, they're actually talking good baseball about how to pick up the pitcher, what they're getting in the counts and that's huge because the mental side of hitting it's taking us a little while to get around to, it's more like get up there and just feel good and now we're giving them a plan and feel good that they can relax with that, so it's been like night and day, it feels like."

It was the second time in as many games that the Rough Riders' starting pitcher went the distance. Pang picked up the complete-game win over Kailua Wednesday, which provided a boost of confidence right out of the gates.

"I feel like that was a big momentum change from last year, so we all know that we can do everything we want and we know that we're capable of everything," Tanabe said.

Castle starting pitcher Fabian Silva-Pokipala was tagged for nine runs, eight earned, on 11 hits and walked one in two-plus innings and took the loss. Kamaunu gave up one earned run on two hits in the final 2 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out two.

"Humbling," Knights first-year coach Shane Kauhane said. "Definitely gotta wake up and realize that practice is practice, but game time is a whole different ballgame. I think some of them just probably overlooked it, not our normal, you know, rivalry teams that we have to face and they could have been looking ahead to the next game, but hopefully they learn from this and they come back and practice harder and just show up."

Kauhane, who was an assistant under interim coach John Hao last season, took notice of Tanabe's efficiency on the mound from the opposing dugout.

"He did what he's supposed to do: let the guys hit and let his defense work. It's just something that all coaches want their pitchers to do, go out there and pitch and let their defense work and he did exactly what he needed to do and hopefully next time they come around again, we'll be ready for it," Kauhane said.

The Rough Riders avenged a pair of two-run losses in both regular-season meetings against the Knights last season, when they finished sixth in the OIA D1 East standings.

After the first week of league play, they are tied with Kaiser atop the seven-team division.

Both teams play on the road next. Roosevelt will visit Moanalua (0-1), while Castle takes on Kalani (0-2) at Kahala Elementary School Wednesday afternoon.



Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].


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