KEALAKEKUA – It hasn’t taken much time this season for the Konawaena Wildcats to rout their BIIF Division II baseball opponents.
On Saturday in their season opener, the Wildcats only needed five innings to secure a victory over Kohala. On Tuesday against Ka’u, the Wildcats only needed three.
Pitchers James Kapela and Tres Uemoto combined for a no-hitter, and the Wildcats dominated the Ka’u Trojans 20-0 in a three-inning mercy-rule win at the Konawaena baseball field in Kealakekua.
Despite the score and the smile on his face as he walked off the field, Konawaena head coach Aaron Mori said he was only “somewhat” happy with the win.
“Everyone had their flaws,” Mori said. “In the beginning of the game, everyone was just trying to kill the baseball and everyone has to learn to make that adjustment. It was a team win.”
Ethan Yamaguchi was 3-4 with four RBIs for the Wildcats. Drew Basque, who hit Konawaena’s only homerun in their 15-4 win over Kohala on Saturday, went yard again in Tuesday’s game with a two-run homerun in the third inning, and was also 3-4 with four RBIs.
The performance by the Wildcats looks good now, but Mori knows the season is still young, and there’s still a lot of baseball left to be played.
“It’s going to get tougher for us as the season goes along,” Mori said. “I’m just trying to get these boys to stay disciplined against these other teams, because I know once we face the tougher teams — Kamehameha, Honokaa, HPA — it’s going to be more difficult for us. We just have to stay disciplined in the box, on the field, and we just have to make the simple plays.”
The Wildcats (2-0) closed out the first inning with a 4-0 lead, and Kapela walked Ka’u’s Jocyiah Mukini to start the second before the Trojans’ Jonah Beck grounded out into a double play. Kapela struck out Zachary Blanco to bring on the red-hot Wildcats’ lineup in the bottom of the second.
Up first was Konawaena’s Bronson Rivera, who hit a triple down the left field line, and after, Ka’u couldn’t contain Konawaena’s bats. Kapela made it to first on a walk, and Jaimison Medeiros hit a double to center field to score both Rivera and pinch runner Riki Furuto to make it 6-0 Wildcats.
Medeiros reached home on a wild pitch to Wildcats batter Kaden Baptista, and the Wildcats ended the second inning up 7-0.
The Wildcats would score 13 more times in the bottom of the third, and the Trojans wouldn’t have another chance for a hit, as the Wildcats ended the game at 20-0.
Kapela pitched two innings with two strikeouts for the Wildcats. Uemoto pitched the third inning with one strikeout on 13 pitches.
“First and foremost, there’s no excuse for getting a loss like that, but it is what it is,” Ka’u head coach Rolland Alcoran said. “We had a lot of people missing, there was a volleyball match today, so we lost a bunch of people there.”
Despite the lack of hits, Alcoran said it was pitching that the Trojans (0-2) need to work on the most in practice this week in order to find their first win of the season.
“We just couldn’t execute on pitching and couldn’t throw strikes,” Alcoran said. “And they hit well, that was the thing, they hit the ball well. We’re just going to take it back and revamp again this week. We have a game against Kealakehe this weekend, so we need to go back and work on our defense a little bit and our pitching.”
The Trojans play next at Kealakehe at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Wildcats play Honokaa at 3 p.m. Friday.