HHSAA Baseball
Crusaders clutch in hitting, fielding and pitching in quarterfinal win


Wed, May 15, 2024 @ [ 4:00 pm ]

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Saint Louis 0 001302661
Kailua 3 1 00000482

W: Aycen Fernandez    L: Kaimana Burgo

KAIL: Kaimana Burgo 2-2 run rbi; Zayne Hookala 4.7 IP 2 ER 2 K
STL: Tanner Chun 1-2 2 runs rbi dbl; Aycen Fernandez 3.7 IP 0 ER 3 K

MANOA - No. 2 Saint Louis rallied from a 4-0 deficit to turn back No. 6 and third-seeded Kailua, 6-4, Wednesday to advance to Thursday's semifinals against second-seeded and No. 3 Maui at Les Murakami Stadium.

Tanner Chun's RBI double and Sean Yamaguchi's run-scoring single in the top of the seventh snapped a 4-all game. Aycen Fernandez pitched 3 2/3 scoreless and hitless innings of relief to pick up the win in the Crusaders' quarterfinal win against Oahu Interscholastic Association champion Surfriders (13-3), the second-seeded team to fall in the tournament. Fourth-seeded Hilo lost to Baldwin earlier, 5-4.

"It feels amazing," Chun said. "It's a great team win. We were still in it, no matter what. We fought, we persevered. I'm so proud of this team, the coaches and the players for what we've done tonight."

With the game tied at 4 entering the top of the seventh, Kahanu Martinez led off with a walk against Kaimana Burgo, Kailua's third pitcher of the game. After taking second on a wild pitch, Martinez scored when Chun ripped a hard grounder just inside the foul line down third base to give Saint Louis its first lead of the game. Chun stole third, but Kaili Kane popped out to first. But Yamaguchi followed with a ground single to left to score Chun for insurance. Kobly Gushiken grounded into a force play and took second on Chase Sutherland's single to center. But Burgo struck out the next batter to end the inning.

Fernandez then closed out the Surfriders in the bottom of the seventh with help from his infielders. Kaalekahi Kuhaulua opened the frame by hitting a grounder toward the middle, but second baseman Jadon Murakami made a nice stop to throw out the batter. Masao Minami then his scorching grounder just inside third base, where Martinez made a back-hand stab and threw out the batter for the second out. Rayvin Pagan delayed Saint Louis' celebration by drawing a walk, but Fernandez retired on Kalama Carreira on a liner to second baseman Murakami to end the contest.

"Kahanu's laying out play, I mean, these guys got my back, I got theirs," Fernandez said.

Kailua got out of the blocks quickly, scoring three in the first off of Saint Louis starter Laakea Correa. Burgo led off with a walk and took second on Zayne Hookala's single to right. Kuhaulua loaded the bases with no out with a bunt single to third. A wild pitch scored Burgo before Minami struck out. After Pagan walked to load the bases, Carreira drilled a two-run single to right to make it 3-0 before Ryce Aoki struck out.

Kailua added a run in the second on Burgo's RBI single.

The Surfriders would chase Correa from the game with one out in the fourth, but Fernandez entered the closed the door on Kailua, which mustered three walks, but no hits the rest of the game.

Saint Louis would tie the game at 4 with a three-run fifth, scoring on an RBI ground out by Martinez, a double-error that finally got Hookala out of the game. DJ Kauahi came in, and intenionally walked Yamaguchi, but walked Gushiken to force in the tying run before Sutherland grounded into an inning-ending force play.

Burgo came in relief for Kailua in the sixth and retired the bottom third of the Saint Louis lineup in order. But Fernandez countered with a scoreless sixth to set up the Crusaders' rally.

"Lights out," Chun said of Fernandez's outing. "He doesn't crack under the pressure. He embraces it; he loves it. That's what I love about him."

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at [email protected].

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