WAIMEA — It took nine innings and a bit of late magic with the bases loaded and one out, but Konawaena — just barely — kept its season alive on Saturday.
The Wildcats used a five-run ninth inning and a late stand to beat Hawaii Preparatory Academy 7-6, forcing a winner take all Game 3 on Monday for a spot in the BIIF Division II championship.
The winner will face seven-time BIIF D-II champion Kamehameha-Hawaii, which completed its sweep of Honokaa with a 15-3 win on Saturday.
For most of the afternoon, it was a tame 2-2 contest between the Wildcats and Ka Makani, both teams scoring a pair of runs in the third inning.
Then the extra innings started.
Taking advantage of a trio of walks and singles from Drew Basque and Ethan Yamaguchi, the Wildcats took what looked like a commanding 7-2 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
However, Hawaii Prep had no intentions of making things comfortable.
Seven of the first eight batters in the ninth inning got on base for Ka Makani, narrowing the gap to just a single run.
It might have felt like a bit of deja vu for Konawaena, which faced a similar situation during their only regular season trip to Waimea. That game ended in a 3-2 walk-off win for Hawaii Prep, when Skyler Roque-Sunahara slapped a game-ending single with two outs.
But this time, with their season on the line, the Wildcats found the extra gear, getting the final two outs with senior Boaz Ayers on the mound.
Jaimison Medeiros started the game for Konawaena, tossing four innings, allowing two runs — no earned – and striking out a pair.
Bronson Rivera pitched the next four, picking up the win while allowing no runs and striking out four. Ayers and Yamaguchi combined for the final three outs.
Kanai Rivera and Yamaguchi notched a pair of RBIs for Konawaena, while Ayers and Jake Basque had one apiece.
Sheldon Aribal, who cranked two home runs in Game 1, kept up his offensive pace, driving in a pair of runs during a 3 of 4 day at the plate.
Roque-Sunahara started the game for Hawaii Prep, tossing 6 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs. Aribal took the loss.
Kamehameha 15, Honokaa 3
Dustin Asuncion, Kalanikealii Marquez and Bula Ahuna each hit home runs at the Dragons’ field, and Tai Atkins pitched four shutout innings of two-hit ball with six strikeouts as the Warriors swept the best-of-three series.
In search of its eighth consecutive BIIF title, Kamehameha (16-0) advances to face either Hawaii Prep or Konawaena in another best-of-three series that starts Friday at UH-Hilo’s field.
The Warriors needed only eight hits to win the first game 15-3 on Friday, but a day later they pounded out 13 and were led by Zakaia Michaels, who was 3 for 4 with four RBIs and three runs scored.
Marquez (2 for 3) hit a three-run shot in the third inning as Kamehameha finally broke through against Jake Bannister, scoring five times. Michaels singled to score two during a four-run fourth, and Ahuna (2 for 3) and Asuncion went deep during a six-run fifth that set up the TKO.
Canen Perreira had two hits for the Dragons (6-10), including a two-run single off Brock Malani in the fifth. Atkins was on his game through four, firing 38 of his 53 pitches for strikes.
In 3 1/3 innings, Bannister was touched for five hits and five runs, four earned, with two walks. Taj Vera Cruz went the last 1 2/3 innings, allowing eight earned runs with three strikeouts and three walks.
Waiakea 11, Keaau 0
Ty Honda delivered a two-hitter in a five-inning TKO with seven strikeouts at the Cougars’ field, and Brandon Nakayama came through with two hits and two RBIs for the second day in a row as the Warriors cleared the first hurdle on the road to a BIIF repeat with a sweep.
Waiakea (13-1) will continue its bid Friday at UHH, when it starts a best-of-three series against Hilo (11-3).
The Warriors’ biggest inning Saturday came in the fifth, when they used three hits – Stone Miyao hit a two-run single – a walk, two hit batters and an error to score five times.
Khaden Victorino and Devin Midel each had two hits, two runs scored and an RBI.
Dylan Kamakea collected both hits off Honda, who didn’t walk a batter and threw 41 of 55 pitches for strikes.
Bryant Respicio-Mercado took the loss for Keaau (3-11), allowing six hits and six runs, four earned, with four walks and two strikeouts.
Waiakea stole eight bases.