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Prep Football Preview Special
ScoringLive staffMay 5, 2023, 10:07pm
Fri, May 5, 2023 @ [ 4:00 pm ]
W: Jamieson Pabalan L: Joshua Rego
KAUA: Radon Sebastian 1-1 run rbi dbl; Tayden Beadle 2.3 IP 0 ERDMS: Francis O'Connor 2-4 run 3 rbi dbl; Jamieson Pabalan 5.3 IP 0 ER 2 K
Back to back.
Damien overcame a five run second inning for Kauai with a third inning burst of its own to tie it, got the go-ahead run on a Francis O'Connor RBI single an inning later, then held on to edge the Red Raiders, 6-5, to claim its second straight Division II state championship.
"It feels great man," said O'Connor. "You know we had no doubt we were very confident we could come back and win it again and that's what we did."
It was an uphill climb though, to say the least.
"The whole season, coach has been saying 'just flush it,'" said O'Connor of that tough second inning. "Flush the bad plays, just clear our mind and let's go."
And that they did.
Down, but definitely not out, Damien got right back to work down 5-1, putting together a four run response to the Red Raiders five run bottom of the second, a surge that was capped off by O'Connor's game-tying two RBI double in the top of the third.
"I knew he was coming with a fast ball right there," said O'Connor of game tying hit. "My coaches said just stay simple, don't let the moment get too big."
That advice paid dividends an inning later, when O'Connor followed up with a go-ahead single to right that ended up being the margin of victory.
"That one was huge," said O'Connor, who batted 2 for 4 with a run scored. "I honestly didn't think it was going to drop but you know what it did."
The Monarchs struck first, as Dyson Yasuda singled through the left side to score Jamieson Pabalan to make it a 1-0 game in the first, but Kauai made its move in the second, parlaying five runs off of three hits, a balk and two fielding errors.
From there Damien kept a clean sheet defensively, backing Pabalan on the mound who came on in relief after Kauai chased both Cade Lurito and Rydge Kohagura, who combined for just 1 2/3 innings of work.
"Just staying calm on the mound, trusting what I have and trusting my defense," said Pabalan of the 5 1/3 innings of work put in to earn the win. He also added a 1 for 2 day at the plate batting leadoff, scoring three runs.
The Red Raiders looked poised to claw their way back into it in the fifth, with runners on first and second with just one out, but Pabalan was able to induce an inning ending double play on a grounder to the shortstop Aaron Rapoza, who touched second and threw to first to end the threat.
"That double play was key, even in our last game, double plays were key too," remarked Pabalan. "It just shows that defense is really important and that's what showed up."
"Baseball is one of those funny games," he continued. "You just got to find a way to get back and he (Rapoza) got back and at the right time when we needed him."
Pabalan took matters in his own hands in the last of the seventh, striking out the side to make it a third overall state title for the Monarchs.
Kauai had only one less hit than Damien, but never found a groove offensively outside of the second frame. No batter recorded more than a single hit, and Radon Sebastian had the lone extra base hit for the Red Raiders. He also scored a run and drove in another.
Damien knocked off a KIF opponent for the second consecutive time in the title game, as it defeated Waimea 10-5 last year. The Monarchs first state title was in 2018 over Radford, a 12-0 win in five innings.
WALLY YONAMINE FOUNDATION/HHHSAA BASEBALL ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM - DIVISION II
Most Outstanding Player: Jamieson Pabalan, Damien
CatcherKamden Takanobu, Waipahu
InfieldKadence Barcenilla, WaipahuJoshua Rego, KauaiDyson Yasuda, DamienChayden Yoshida, Damien
OutfieldFrancis O'Connor, DamienAustin Renaud, KauaiRadon Sabastian, Kauai
PitcherChasetin Rice, WaianaeKapono Sullivan, Kauai
UtilityAaron Rapoza, Damien
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