BIIF baseball: Honokaa heads to postseason on high note

Malu Kanekoa made his first hit of the season count, and now every play matters for Honokaa’s baseball team, coach Lane Yanagisawa said.

Kanekoa clubbed a home run Wednesday, and Chad Yanagisawa and Canen Perreira also collected two hits apiece as the Dragons outslugged Kohala 17-7, finishing the BIIF baseball regular season with their second win in as many days.

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Up next for Honokaa (6-8) is unbeaten Kamehameha, the seven-time BIIF Division II champion, in the best-of-three semifinals, but at least the Dragons head into Friday’s opener in Keaau with some momentum.

“No mistakes, ” Lane Yanagisawa said of taking on the Warriors. “We have to play a perfect game, and young kids have to up their games. We have to play clean.”

They have lately.

On Tuesday, Perreira batted 3 for 3 with an RBI as the Dragons beat Hawaii Prep 10-6 in Waimea for their best win of the season, snapping a six-game losing streak.

Honokaa scored nine runs in the first three innings. Kaiali’i Nakamoto was 2 for 2 with two RBIs and Taj Vera Cruz was 2 for 2 with two runs scored.

“The boys came in with skills this season, but we’re young,” Yanagisawa said.

There have been some struggles, but he said, “They’re resilient and never give up. They are ballers.”

Perreira started, Jake Bannister took over in the second with Yanagisawa and Vera Cruz finishing on the mound against HPA.

Nate Heymann hit an RBI double for Ka Makani (8-6), who open their semifinal series Friday at Konawaena.

On Wednesday, Yanagisawa was 2 for 3 with two RBIs, and Perreira was 2 for 4 with a run batted in on his senior day. Kanekoa and Vera Cruz are the other seniors.

“Our bats finally woke up,” Yanagisawa said. Honokaa had managed just eight runs in its past five game entering the HPA game.

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William Smith pitched into the third for the Dragons, Justin Pascual relieved and Vera Cruz took over in the fourth.

Quentin Hook homered for the Cowboys (1-13), who scored five times in the fifth before Honokaa responded with a six-spot to end the game via TKO.

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