‘Professor’ leads Konawaena past rival Kealakehe
Konawaena manager Dave Distel gave Jordan Miyahira-Young the ultimate compliment Friday at Kealakehe, slapping him with the nickname of pitching legend Greg Maddux.
“‘The Professor’ taught his class well,’’ Distel said after the junior turned in a Maddux-like performance, throwing a one-hit shutout for the Wildcats in their 6-0 win over the Waveriders.
Leaning on a sharp-breaking curveball and staying on the outside corner, Miyahira-Young induced eight groundouts in a tidy 87-pitch outing. He struck out six and walked one in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation contest.
“I was trying to stay on the black (of the plate) — keep it low and at the knees,’’ Miyahira-Young said.
Kealakehe broke up Miyahira-Young’s bid at a no-hitter when Bricen Ferreira lined a single through the left side of the infield to lead off the fourth. Ferreira, who advanced to second on an error and went to third on a groundout, was the only Waverider baserunner who reached scoring position.
A year ago, Konawaena (5-2 BIIF, 9-2 overall) saw a 19-game BIIF winning streak come to an end at Kealakehe, when Teao Buehler pitched the Waveriders (3-5, 5-7) to a victory.
Miyahira-Young said teammate Shelton Grace reminded the team of that loss and another setback by the Wildcats’ JV team this year, saying the school was mired in a “losing streak” of sorts.
“That motivated us to break that,’’ Miyahira-Young said.
The Wildcats accomplished their goal facing the same pitcher who broke their lengthy league winning streak last year.
In the first inning, they got to Buehler for two runs, with Ona Manzano driving a 1-2 pitch over Keith Pabre’s head in straightaway center field for an RBI triple and Jarrett Kitaoka following with a run-scoring single to left.
Buehler, who also pitched 1 2/3 innings in Kealakehe’s 9-7 win over Hawaii Prep on Wednesday, labored through a 38-pitch first inning before finding a groove and settling in.
“Once he finds it and minimizes his misses, he’s pretty tough,’’ Waveriders coach Josh Hansen said.
Buehler lasted five innings, giving up three runs — two earned — on three hits. He struck out seven and walked three.
The senior threw 105 pitches, and because he threw approximately 20 pitches against HPA two days ago, Hansen turned to reliever Sage Valenzuela to finish the game.
“I saw his pitch count was up, and we have to use him next week,’’ Hansen said, referring to the Waveriders’ regular-season finale — a road game against Honokaa on April 27. “We want one more good start from him before the playoffs.
“I liked the way we competed. I liked the way we played defense. … The bats weren’t awake today.’’
Konawaena center fielder Domonic Morris hoped his team would be awake against the Waveriders.
He said the Wildcats were “a little more relaxed than usual” last year against the Waveriders.
The senior gave the team some breathing room in the top of the seventh, when Konawaena led off the top of the seventh with three consecutive hits: singles from Royce Torres-Torioka and Skye Suzuki and a booming three-run homer to right by Morris.
Torres-Torioka and Kitaoka each had two hits, and Zane Gray added a double and a sacrifice fly.
Morris said the Wildcats were well aware of the Waveriders’ solid performance against perennial Division II power HPA.
“We have to treat every game like it’s the same,’’ Morris said.
Konawaena 201 000 3 — 6 7 4
Kealakehe 000 000 0 — 0 1 2
c Hawaii Prep 11, Kohala 4: Mike Nakahara went 3-for-5 with two doubles, a triple and six RBIs, and Koa Ellis pitched a complete-game five hitter for Ka Makani at Kamehameha Park.
Ellis, who struck out three and walked five to get the win, also went 4-for-5 with an RBI. Ian Rice added two RBIs for HPA, which improved to 6-2 in the BIIF and 9-3 overall.
Like Ellis, the Cowboys’ Casey Stevens went the distance on the mound, allowing 11 runs on nine hits. He struck out one and walked four.
At the plate, Haruto Fuertes drove in three runs, and Willy Perez went 2-for-4 for the Cowboys (2-5, 2-9).
Hawaii Prep 420 301 1 — 11 9 3
Kohala 400 000 0 — 4 5 3