HHSAA Baseball
Waiakea rallies to edge Baldwin for first state title since 2012


Sat, May 7, 2022 @ [ 6:00 pm ]

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Baldwin 0 001001231
Waiakea 0 0 0030X330

W: Justice Dorser    L: Davin Lewis    SV: Kyson Wada

WKEA: Kedren Kinzie 1-2 2 rbi; Kaleb dela Cuesta Sato 3.3 IP 1 ER 3 K
BAL: Wehiwa Aloy 1-2 run trp; Davin Lewis 6.0 IP 3 ER 4 K

WAILUKU, Maui - COVID-19 might have robbed seniors such as Kedren Kinzie and Justice Dorser of most of their high-school baseball careers, but the two made up for it in one magical night.

Kinzie drove in the go-ahead runs in a three-run fifth and Dorser 2 2/3 innings of strong relief and No. 3 Waiakea edged No. 1 Baldwin, 3-2, Saturday night to give the Warriors their second Wally Yonamine Foundation Division I state baseball championship and first since 2012. 

An Iron Maehara Stadium crowd of 1,453 watched the return of state tournament baseball after the past two were lost because of the pandemic. 

The Warriors rallied from a 1-0 deficit to avenge a 14-4 loss to the Bears (16-1) in 2018 in a mercy-rule title game. The two Neighbor Island teams have met three times for the title since 2012. The Warriors entered the tournament 1-3 in title games, while the Bears have been more successful at 6-4 before Saturday night's game.

"It feels amazing," Kinzie said. "The amount of times we got second place. One step closer every year. After the two season we couldn't play, this feels amazing. This is a special group of kids here."

Waiakea pitcher Justice Dorser throws a pitch to plate against Baldwin. Michael Lasquero | SL    Purchase image

For two years, players had nothing to look forward to, as seasons were canceled. The return to the diamond meant a lot to the players.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet," Waiakea coach Chris Honda said. ‘It's great just being out here. The competitive baseball we saw. This past week, the amount of great athletes I saw just shows the caliber Hawaii has here. We're happy to be part of it and super proud we were able to come out with the championship."

Since the advent of the 12-team format, which only league champions are seeded, the top seed has won the title 11 times. The Bears came in as the top seed, while the Warriors were seeded third. Waiakea became only the third third-seeded team to win out.

The game began as a pitchers' duel between Baldwin's Davin Lewis and Waiakea's Kaleb dela Cuesta Sato. After a scoreless three innings, the Bears broke the ice int he top of the fourth, when Wehiwa Aloy lined a triple to right. The Warriors brought their infield in and the plan worked when Kuhio Aloy hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Mason Hirata, who momentarily bobbled the ball, but still threw out the batter, as Wehiwa Aloy held third. With one out and the infield still in, Levi Maddela scorched a ground single up the middle to score Wehiwa Aloy. Honda then replaced the left-handed dela Cuesta Sato for the right-handed Dorser, who got the win in relief against Saint Louis with 1 2/3 scoreless innings in Friday's semifinals. On a 1-2 pitch, Dorser got Lewis to ground into an inning-ending double play.

"It felt amazing," Dorser said of that situation he was put in. "I trust my defense. I know they got me to the end."

But the Warriors got boosted in the bottom of the fifth, when Lewis battled with his control. Elijah Igawa led off with a walk and his courtesy runner Toren Segovia-Tanonaka took second on Kaden Oshiro's sacrifice. Lewis then started off 2-0 against Mason HIrata before Baldwin coach Craig Okita came out to talk to his pitcher. After throwing a strike, Lewis' wild pitch moved Segovia-Tanonaka over to third, drawing the infield in. Hirata eventually walked - the fourth of the game for Lewis. 

Okita said he had two pitchers heating up in the bullpen, but opted to stay with Lewis.

"He's a senior, give'em a shot," Okita said. "The game was still close."

After Hirata stole second, the Bears brought their infield in, but Devin Garza also walked to load the bases bringing up Kyson Wada. Wada hit a comeback to Lewis, who bobbled the ball momentarily and lost a chance for a force at home and settled to get the batter out at first as Segovia-Tanonaka scored the tying run with the others moving to third and second. Kinzie then delivered a sharp ground single to left to score the runners and give Waiakea a 3-1 lead. Shortstop Wehiwa Aloy's errant throw to first to catch Kinzie rounding the bag was wide, allowing the batter to take second. But Joshua Ward flied out to center to end the inning.

That moment was special for Kinzie.

"My dad always wanted me to do good in states," said a tearful Kinzie of his father Edward Kinzie, who passed away last year.. "I wish he was here to watch it…tonight was for him. I know what he wanted for me to do what was best for me, so I kept going with it."

Meanwhile, Dorser continued to pound fastballs by the Bears. After the inning-ending double play in the fourth, he retired the next six batters he faced.

"I was throwing fastballs, mixing up locations, striking them out," said Dorser, voted the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.. "Just challenge them. Throw strikes and let my defense work. I trust them."

With a 3-1 lead heading into the top of the seventh, the Bears were hoping to mount a rally before the home crowd. Kuhio Aloy walked and was lifted for pinch runner Laakea Ko. But after walking Maddela, Honda pulled Dorser and brought in Wada from left field. To face Lewis, whose sacrifice put the tying run on second base. Christian Dominno's sacrifice fly to center scored Ko, as Lewis held second. Isaiah Chaves then flied out to right to end the game and give Wada the save and set off the celebration.

"I knew Kyson was going to give us strikes," Honda said. "That was the big thing for us. I wanted him to pound the zone, pitch to contact and let our defense make plays."

All-Tournament Team

Submitted by the HHSAA

Most Outstanding Player: Justice Dorser, Waiakea

Catcher: Elijah Igawa, Waiakea

Infield: Wehiwa Aloy, Baldwin; Nuu Contrades, Saint Louis; Makane Honokaupu, Baldwin; Kedren Kinzie, Waiakea.

Outfield: Davin Lewis, Baldwin; Devin Saltiban, Hilo; Kyson Wada, Waiakea.

Pitcher: Spencer Rego, Saint Louis

Utility: Dylan Honda, Waiakea

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at [email protected].

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