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Prep Football Preview Special
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveMarch 11, 2020, 9:09pm
Wed, Mar 11, 2020 @ [ 3:00 pm ]
W: Joshua Reis L: Alika Almaraz
MIL: Koa Konia-Rosa 1-2 2 runs rbi; Joshua Reis 5.0 IP 0 ER 11 KPC: Alika Almaraz 1-3; Drew Boyles 2.0 IP 0 ER
MILILANI — Anu Reis had plenty of motivation to perform well in Wednesday's regular-season opener.
The junior left-handed pitcher struck out 11 batters and allowed just one hit in five innings of work to lead Mililani to a 7-0 win over visiting Pearl City.
Reis's dominant outing came just three days after his 12-year old brother, Josiah, returned home from two months of treatment for a brain tumor in Memphis, Tennessee.
"Him and my dad were up there for there for the past two months at the St. Jude's Children's Hospital," Reis said. "He just got back on Sunday so (Wednesday was) his first time watching me play in a while, so I wanted to dedicate it this game to him."
Reis overcame some early command issues — he walked the leadoff man in each of the first three innings — but helped himself out by registering first-pitch strikes to 15 of the 19 batters he faced. He threw 52 of his 86 total pitches for strikes and fanned at least two Chargers in each inning.
Still, he was surprised by his strikeout total after the game.
"Really? Oh, wow. I mean, I knew I had it in me, just command was always my issue so if I could just throw strikes then I know I could be fine," Reis said.
A lingering arm injury and later a black eye sustained in practice took away most of Reis's sophomore season last year. He did return for the postseason, however, and threw 2 1/3 innings in the state championship game against Punahou. Reis was tagged for three runs in the Trojans' 7-3 loss to the Buffanblu.
"Last year was super frustrating, so I'm excited to finally be healthy and pitch again; it just made me work harder in the offseason," Reis said.
Reis struck out the side in the top of the second inning. He was working a no-hitter until Alika Alamaraz led off the fifth with a single to short right field. Almaraz moved into scoring position on a Micah Yamamoto sacrifice bunt, but Reis got Dylan Soto and Joshua Aribal on back-to-back swinging strikeouts to get out of the jam.
"It's always good to see a kid come bounce back from adversity, I mean, that's gonna be a part of life and to see him come back and just work his butt off and be able to get back out there and do what he loves to do, it's always good to see," Mililani coach Mark Hirayama said.
Reis said "pretty much just a fastball" was working for him. He credited assistant coach Gainor Nitta — a former Trojans' ace pitcher himself — for making a fix on his breaking ball.
"At first the slider wasn't working, not until later in the game. I was gripping it too tight so it was just hanging out in my hand, but then coach Gainor told me to loosen up a little bit and just throw it like a fastball and it started working," Reis explained.
Reis gave way to reliever Blake Iwamoto to start the sixth inning. Iwamoto struck out two and walked one before Tyler Wannomae pitched a clean seventh.
Mililani hitters worked nine total walks off of Pearl City pitching and struck out just twice.
"They helped us a lot on offense," Hirayama said of the Chargers. "We hit a couple balls hard when we had some guys in scoring position, but we gotta do a better job of taking advantage of the opportunities that we get and having little better at-bats, especially with runners in scoring position and be a little bit more competitive in that spot and I think we'll be alright."
Alex Keliiholokai and Hunter Faildo drew bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the first to give the Trojans an early lead. They pushed across another run in the second on a two-out single by Ethan Thomas to score Koa Konia-Rosa.
Konia-Rosa singled in two runs in the third inning and two batters later, Jacob Hirayama pulled a single into right field to plate a couple more insurance runs.
"He's been working hard," Mark Hirayama said of his son, a senior shortstop.
"I mean, his main thing is play defense and take care of our defense for us, but we're just asking everybody to go up there and have quality at-bats, get good pitches to hit and be aggressive and whatever happens, happens," he said.
Almaraz, one of just two seniors for Pearl City this year, was the losing pitcher. He allowed two runs, one hit and walked two and did not retire a batter.
The Chargers used five total pitchers in the loss. Drew Boyles fared the best of the bunch. The freshman threw two scoreless frames and had one strikeout.
Pearl City's roster includes five freshmen, 10 sophomores and five juniors.
Mililani, meanwhile, is at the other end of the spectrum. The Trojans have 19 seniors on this year's squad.
"It's huge. I mean, on paper we should be great. You gotta come out and play the game still yet, but to be able to have these guys that have been the heart and soul of the program for a couple years now, to have them come back and play is huge and they're gonna be hard to replace once they graduate," Mark Hirayama said.
Hirayama's team recently returned from a preseason trip to Arizona, where it was able to tour collegiate and professional facilities.
"It was a great trip. We got to see some great baseball, we hung out at the big league camps and just watching the guys work at their craft … but the biggest thing was the camaraderie and building the chemistry," Hirayama said. "We were really fortunate we had a good time up there."
Both teams will continue league play Saturday afternoon. Pearl City (0-1) will visit Aiea (1-0), while Mililani (1-0) will visit Campbell (1-0). First pitch for both games is scheduled for 3 p.m.
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