HHSAA Baseball
Kamehameha-Hawaii topples Damien to claim first state title since 2016


Sat, May 18, 2024 @ [ 10:00 am ]

F/5TH 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
KS-Hawaii 9 2010XX12100
Damien 0 0 001XX142

W: Shiloh Santos    L: Cade Lurito

DMS: Nainoa Begonia 1-3 rbi; Sam Cezar-Kanakaole 2.0 IP 0 ER
KSH: Braden Gomes 1-2 2 runs 2 rbi dbl; Shiloh Santos 5.0 IP 1 ER

SALT LAKE —The Warriors are the new kings of the diamond in 2024.

No. 10 and third seed Kamehameha-Hawaii poured on nine runs in the first inning to rout two-time defending state champion Damien, 12-1, in five innings in the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA Division II Baseball State Championships at Moanalua's field Saturday.

The Warriors dominated from start to finish to cap a 16-1 overall season to bring home the koa trophy to the Big Island for the first time in eight years.

"It means a lot, we wanted it for Hilo, our school, our families and for each other and that's really important for us," KS-Hawaii pitcher Shiloh Santos said.

"It's just as good. But it's a little different, we had to come out to Oahu and deal with weather issues. It was really nice to overcome adversity in the trip during the season. It was a nice reward for the kids," KS-Hawaii coach Andy Correa said.

Santos batted 2-for-4 to drive in two runs and pitched five innings to scatter four hits to pick up the win. He had one earned Monarch run with a strike out a four walks.

"Our pitching staff is amazing. These kids work hard each and everyday. Our pitchers don't really throw fast or throw hard, but they throw it there and make our defense work and I think that works best for us," Kawelu said.

Short stop Kaohu Kawelu made timely plays in the infield and batted 2-for-4 with two RBI and scored two runs.

KS-Hawaii sent 15 batters to the plate to come away with nine runs on eight hits. Justin Kubojiri was beaned and Kawelu and Dominic Christensen loaded the bases with singles. Santos lined a sharp hit to right field and Noah Palea walked in a run. Kamaka Ili singled past third to force a pitching change.

"You can't ask for anything better when you score nine in the first and you don't even have to go out on the mound. It's a real comforting thing and it really puts you in a relaxed state to play the rest of the game," Correa said.

The Monarchs went through four total pitchers. Cade Lurito scattered four hits, six runs were earned with a walk in the loss. Joseph Paparo induced the first out and threw the next 2/3 innings to scatter four hits and surrendered three earned runs.

DeTrinis surrendered two of the three runs charged to him and issued five walks while Sam Cezar-Kanakaole pitched the final two innings to scatter two hits.

"From the first pitch, we beaned the guy and couldn't stop the bleeding. They hit the ball, credit to Kamehameha-Hawaii, they hit the ball. They scored the runs. We had to claw back but coming down from a 9-0 hole is difficult to do. We tried our best, but they outplayed us today, that's the bottom line," Damien coach Skyler Tengan said.

Paparo plunked Elijah Okano and Braden Gomes launched a double to deep right center. KS-Hawaii cycled through the lineup as Kawelu, Christensen, and Santos in that order each drove in runs.

"Our mindset was just to hit. No matter where, to hit the ball, hit it hard and put it where they weren't so it worked out in our favor," Kawelu said.

"They hit the ball. There's no doubt about that. We knew they could hit, we hoped that they hit more balls at our guys, but we gave them a lot of free bases with walks, beans, and errors. You can't do that to a good team, especially when they hit the ball like they do. They made us pay for it and that's what good teams do. Hats off to them," Tengan added.

Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA Baseball State Championships
All-Tournament Team (as selected by the media)

Division II

Most Outstanding Player
Shiloh Santos, Kamehameha-Hawaii

Dominic Christensen, Kamehameha-Hawaii

Kaohu Kawelu, Kamehameha-Hawaii
Rydge Kohagura, Damien
Noah Palea, Kamehameha-Hawaii
Dane Yamauchi, Kauai

Kona Begonia, Damien
Nainoa Begonia, Damien
Kamaka Ili, Kamehameha-Hawaii

Francis O'Connor, Damien

Joshua Rego, Kauai
Chaseten Rice, Waianae

In the second inning, the Warriors padded their lead with two more runs. Pacheco reached on a throwing error and moved a base on a wild pitch. Okano and Gomes walked to load the bases. Kubojiri walked in a run and Kawelu drove in a run by grounding out to first.

The Monarchs got their first hit in the bottom of the second inning on Kekona Begonia's one-out bunt single and Rydge Koguhara walked. Carl Julian and Maximillian DeTrinis each lined into Kawelu's glove to end the inning.

"It made me to recognize that I have my defense behind me. I have my team with me and no stress," Santos said.

KS-Hawaii added their final run of the game as Gomes walked, took a base on a wild pitch and got to third on Kawelu's ground out before scoring off another wild pitch.

Damien scored their lone run of the game in the fifth inning. Cezar-Kanakaole led off with a single to right center and Francis O'Connor added another base hit to centerfield. Nainoa Begonia drove in pinch runner Jayden Rivera with the third hit of the frame.

The Monarchs finished the ILH schedule integrated with Division I opponents at 4-10.

Unseeded Damien knocked out Molokai, 18-0 in five innings to open the tournament and edged OIA champion and top seeded Waianae, 2-1 to reach the final.

O'Connor, the Monarchs' ace in the ILH season, pitched the two tournament games and started at centerfield.

"We can't control the weather. We knew going into the week the weather was not going to be nice. I told the boys not to worry about it. We have to control what we can control. Even the pitching, I always have the mentality to try and win the next game and we'll worry about the next game, the next game. We don't try to save any pitchers. It didn't go our way, but it is what it is, that's baseball," Tengan said.

KS-Hawaii took down state tournament nemesis Radford, 7-1 and KIF champion and second seed Kauai, 7-2 to reach the title game for the first time since 2016.

"We were all together. The back of our hats has a triangle. It means ‘lokahi' together as one big family," Santos said.

The Warriors posted their ninth win of routing opponents by more than 10 runs.

It was the third game of the season where the Monarchs lost by more than 10 runs. Damien lost 14-0 to Iolani and 12-2 to Saint Louis, ILH Division I state tournament qualifiers.

The Monarchs made their third-straight championship game and were seeking their fourth overall state title and third in a row under Tengan.

"It's definitely not easy. We're always going to remember the last one. We'll work that much harder to make it back next year. It's definitely not easy, I'm always going to be proud of them and they deserve to be here," Tengan said.

Reach Brandon Ching at [email protected].

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