ILH Baseball
Quemuel-Labrador leads No. 5 Maryknoll in bounce-back win over No. 2 Kamehameha


Thu, Apr 7, 2022 @ [ 3:30 pm ]

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Kamehameha 0 001100273
Maryknoll 1 0 1030X531

W: Miles Quemuel-Labrador    L: Kaena Kiakona    SV: Matthew Miura

MS: Noah Nakaoka 2-4 run; Miles Quemuel-Labrador 6.0 IP 2 ER 2 K
KSK: Aukai Kea 2-4 rbi; Kaena Kiakona 4.6 IP 3 ER 5 K

WAIPIO — Miles Quemuel-Labrador provided the pitching and his teammates came through with the defense to help No. 5 Maryknoll get back in the win column with a 5-2 win over No. 2 Kamehameha Thursday afternoon. 

A crowd of about 100 fans at Patsy T. Mink/Central Oahu Regional Park saw the Spartans end a two-game losing streak to improve to 8-4-1. They started the day tied for fourth place in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu's Division I standings, but moved into solo third place with the victory — their second over the Warriors (7-4-1) this season.

"I'm really proud of the boys and the way they responded, that's something that we just talked about as a team, how do great teams respond to adversity," said Maryknoll coach Alakai Aglipay, whose team had dropped its prior two contests. 

Aglipay's squad dropped a 6-0 decision to top-ranked Saint Louis Saturday, then was dealt a 12-6 loss at the hands of third-ranked Mid-Pacific Tuesday. 

"I think on any given day, anybody can beat each other so I'm really proud of these boys on how they just answered back and came out with a win and finished the game; I'm excited for them," Aglipay said. 

Unlike its previous meeting against Kamehameha this season — when Maryknoll rapped out 16 hits in a convincing 12-2 win back on March 22 — it claimed Thursday's rematch despite just three hits (all singles). It did so with some small-ball and by cashing in on three costly errors by the Warriors' defense. 

Kamehameha committed two of those errors in the bottom of the fifth inning, when the Spartans sent eight batters to the plate and plated three runs with nary a hit to break a 2-2 tie. 

After Matthew Miura and Noah Hata worked consecutive walks to lead off the Maryknoll fifth, Luke Swartman moved both into scoring position with his sacrifice bunt. Miura scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Warriors' starter Kaena Kiakona. Kiakona got Jacob Remily to strike out looking for the second out of the inning. 

Parker Grant was then intentionally walked to put runners at the corners with two outs for Noah Bernal, who hit a ground ball back up the middle. Bernal reached on a fielding error on a ball under the glove of the shortstop, which also allowed both Hata and Grant to score a couple of insurance runs for the Spartans. 

"I mean, that's baseball," Aglipay shrugged. "It's the team that makes the least amount of mistakes and we were fortunate to be in those positions and Kamehameha is such a tough team, so I'm glad that our boys were able to just really stick together throughout the entire game and just really pull through."

Kiakona then walked No. 9 batter Tanner Fujino on four pitches and was lifted for relief pitcher Ethan Waikiki, who got the final out of the frame. 

Quemuel-Labrador had logged 73 pitches through his first five innings of work, but said he was rejuvenated by the proceedings of the bottom of the fifth. 

"That really helped me out," said Quemuel-Labrador. "I think that given the momentum that we had, I was really able to capitalize on that and kind of work harder and kind of finish out and try to finish strong."

Quemuel-Labrador got off to a nice start in his fifth start of the year. He worked a clean top of the first inning, including his only two strikeouts of the game then benefitted from a single run in the bottom of the frame from his offense. 

Noah Nakaoka led off with a single to right, then moved to second on a Nicolas Low sacrifice bunt. Nakaoka took third on a Kiakona wild pitch, then scored on a Noah Hata RBI-fielder's choice. 

The early lead bolstered the confidence of Quemuel-Labrador, who was coming off of a complete game three-hitter in his last outing, a 10-1 win over Iolani a week ago. 

"I think it's huge because it gives me even more confidence knowing that my team is coming out here firing and supporting me, that I don't have to do everything, that I can count on them to support me," said Quemuel-Labrador, who walked the second batter of the second inning in Miecah Andres, but got Jace Souza to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. 

Maryknoll doubled up its lead when Miura reached base on a fielder's choice and eventually stole home to give his team a 2-0 lead after three innings. 

The Warriors got on the board in the top of the fourth with a two-out RBI-single off the bat of Aukai Kea. They evened the score an inning later. Souza led off the Kamehameha fifth by drawing a walk. Dane Palimoo followed with a single to right before Cody Branco stroked a single past shortstop to score the tying run in Souza. 

Two batters later, Maryknoll opted to intentionally walk Elijah Ickes to load the bases for Aydan Lobetos. Quemuel-Labrador eventually got Lobetos to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play to escape the jam. 

"That was actually a change-up and credit to my defense for making a play afterwards," Quemuel-Labrador said. 

The double-play ball came one pitch after Aglipay had a bit of an extended conversation with the home plate umpire about a check swing. 

"Yeah, that was a weird one. The pitch before that, I think, it was considered a foul ball — from our angle it was potentially a missed bunt — and you know what, that's baseball, man," Aglipay said. "The next pitch we get into a double play and it just all worked out and we're really blessed to be in those positions and thankfully these kids didn't crack under pressure."

Quemuel-Labrador stranded two more base runners in the sixth inning before he gave way to Miura, who moved from centerfield to the mound to start the seventh inning. 

Kamehameha loaded the bases with one out in the top of the seventh, but Miura got Beau Sylvester, the third batter in the card for the Warriors, and Kea, the clean-up hitter, to pop out on the infield for the final two outs of the game. 

"I think it was super important that we won this game," said Quemuel-Labrador, who scattered six hits and three walks over six innings of work. 

The senior right-hander threw 95 pitches Thursday. Quemuel-Labrador lowered his earned run average to 2.57 and improved his record to 2-1 on the year. 

He credited his fellow senior, Hata, for keeping the Spartans focused. 

"He talked to all the boys, told them that it's how we're gonna respond and that it's not always gonna be the highs. We gotta figure out how to respond when we're down and he really helped to inspire us and guide us as a team in order to pull off this win today," said Quemuel-Labrador, one of a half-dozen 12th graders for Maryknoll. 

Aglipay praised that nucleus of veterans for leading the way for the Spartans this season. 

"I think the senior leadership has really pulled through for this team and has really kept this team together throughout the entire time," he said. 

He was especially happy for Quemuel-Labrador Thursday. 

"He's put in a ton of work and he's only gotten better throughout the season. He threw a lot more strikes today, which is something that he's been really wanting to work on, so I'm really proud of him," Aglipay said. "He's put in a ton of work, he's one of the most prepared pitchers that we have and for him to come out and have a great day — his defense is backing him up — you know, that was huge."

Quemuel-Labrador is hopeful that the Spartans can ride the wave of momentum going into their final regular season game Saturday against Punahou and the ILH postseason tournament. 

"Our team, we have a lot of momentum working off of this and we're gonna use it like a trampoline going into the next game and then the rest of the playoffs," he said. 

Following a 5-0 start to the season, Kamehameha has gone 2-4-1 since, including 1-3-1 in its last five games. It plays PAC-5 Saturday before wrapping up the regular season against Iolani Monday. 

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].

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