OIA Baseball
Radford batters Waipahu to capture OIA D2 title


Sat, Apr 27, 2019 @ [ 4:00 pm ]

F/5TH 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Radford 2 3504XX14150
Waipahu 2 0 000XX225

W: Daniel May    L: Seth Garcia

WAIP: Chad Cadiente 1-2 2 rbi; Javin Barcenilla 0.6 IP 0 ER
RAD: Richard Akana III 3-4 2 runs 4 rbi dbl; Daniel May 5.0 IP 2 ER 3 K

MANOA — Radford busted out the bats to back Daniel May's two-hitter on the mound en route to its first league baseball crown in eight seasons with a 14-2 win over previously-undefeated Waipahu at Les Murakami Stadium Saturday afternoon. The game was called after five innings due to the 10-run differential mercy rule.

The Rams (10-2) avenged a pair of regular-season losses to the Marauders (11-1) by banging out 15 hits and taking advantage of five errors in the title game of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division II tournament. It is their fifth OIA championship in program history and its third in D2.

"It feels great, man. These kids put in so much work," said Radford coach Jacob Sur, who guided his alma mater to its last league title in 2011, his first season at the helm. "These seniors that we have, probably one of the hardest working groups that we've had. These guys have been busting their butts for a long time."

Not only did the victory serve as redemption against Waipahu, it exorcised the demons of the previous two years, when Radford reached the OIA D2 final only to lose to Waianae in 2017 and Farrington last season.

"We were just hungry," said Rams leadoff hitter and junior first baseman Matthew Lukins. "We were tired of working our butts off all year and coming up short, so this year we worked unbelievably hard and we just put it all together finally. Coach Jake got us ready and I give all credit to him and he put us in a situation where he knew that we could do it and we did."

Whereas the Rams committed six errors in a season-opening 9-7 loss and another five errors in a 9-4 defeat a month later, they turned in a clean sheet on defense Saturday.

"The difference was we didn't make errors, that was the big difference. The past two games we played them we made a bunch of errors, so I mean, not making errors and putting the ball in play, that was big," Sur said. "I mean, we did what we did, we controlled the controllables."

Each team plated a pair of runs in the first inning, however, Radford took the lead for good in the top of the second on Damon Nelson's RBI-bunt single to score courtesy runner Benjamin Kafka. It plated two more runs in the frame when Lukins scored on an error and Nelson came home on Richard Akana's two-out single to left field.

The Rams opened the flood gates an inning later. They sent 10 batters to the plate in the third and scored five runs on five hits, three of them coming with two outs, including Akana's two-run single to right field that stretched the lead to 10-2.

Radford posted another big inning in the fifth, when it pushed across four insurance runs. Lukins scored the first run of the frame when he took home on a double steal and three batters later, Akana hit a towering fly ball to deep left field that went over the head of the left fielder and bounced over the wall for an RBI-ground rule double to score Shane Vogt from second.

"I got a little jammed on that one," said Akana, who ended up scoring on a Michael Gauna two-out single to left center three batters later. "It was a fastball, inside. I thought it was gonna bean me on my elbow, but I decided to not take the bean and just open up."

Pinemua Epenesa scored the final run of the inning — to make it 14-2 — on a Waipahu error, one of two in the frame and five in all.

"Everybody today, we just got ready and we were saying, ‘We're gonna come back and we're just gonna crush the ball today,' and that's what we did," said Lukins, who batted 3 for 5 with an RBI and four runs scored. "We saw the ball, we took the pitches that were out of the zone and we just waited for our pitch."

Lukins led off the game with a triple for Radford's only other extra-base hit aside from Akana's double. Akana batted 3 for 4 with four RBI and two runs scored and Nelson (2 for 4, two RBI, two runs scored), Gauna (2 for 4, RBI, run) and DJ Kabua (2 for 3, walk, two runs scored) also paired hits in the win.

Senior Richard Akana III batted 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs in the Rams' mercy-rule win. Michael Lasquero | SL    Purchase image

May, a junior southpaw, ran into some early trouble, but eventually found his groove. May hit the first batter of the game and then walked the next. The only runs he surrendered came on Chad Cadiente's two-run double to the gap in left center in the top of the first inning. He stranded a pair of Marauders in scoring position in the second inning and then went on to retire the final 10 batters he faced.

"Daniel was confident the whole way. He didn't get rattled and after that first inning he was lights out and I'm so proud of him and he did a great job today," Lukins said.

It was the longest outing of the season for May, who had made just three prior appearances on the mound this season due to an early-season arm injury.

"He was out for maybe about a month," Sur said of May, who picked up his first win on the year Saturday.

"He did awesome. We had no doubts that he was gonna perform. Coming into the season he was our number two (starting pitcher), but he hurt his arm a little so he kind of faltered midway through the season, but this last probably three, four weeks he was really in the zone and we felt that he was gonna be the guy."

May got through the outing in 65 pitches, including 40 for strikes. He fired first-pitch strikes to 13 of the 20 batters he faced. May walked two and struck out three.

"I take my hat off to that kid. He says he looks up to me for pitching, but I look up to him because when the game is on the line, he can come in, pound the zone, throw every pitch efficiently and that's why the coaches put him out there, because we believed and the coaches believed in him," Akana said.

It was the fewest runs scored in a game by Waipahu this season. The Marauders were averaging more than nine runs of offense per game entering Saturday.

"Almost the whole year we've been a very good hitting team, but like I told them, some games you're not gonna have the offense, so you better have the defense and the pitching and today we just had all around, we had everything," Sur said.

Radford was making its 10th appearance in an OIA D2 final and is now 3-6 in those games. It was the fifth time that the Rams and Marauders met for the league championship.

"It feels good because all the hard work we've been through paid off for today, but we still can't let up," said Akana, a senior and four-year varsity player. "We still have to keep working harder and harder because we still got states and we just can't let up."

Waipahu was seeking its 19th OIA title, third in D2 and first since 2012.

Both teams will represent the OIA in the Wally Yonamine Foundation State Championships on Kauai in two weeks.

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].




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