Leilehua Wins Semifinal Pitchers’ Duel with Kailua, Advances to OIA DI Championship Game
BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED APR 27, 2023
HONOLULU — A pitchers’ duel broke out Thursday night at Les Murakami Stadium between the Leilehua Mules (9-5) and the Kailua Surfriders (10-4), a 1-0 victory for Leilehua to clinch a spot in the OIA Division I baseball championship game Friday night.
The Campbell Sabers grabbed the other championship spot earlier in the evening with a 6-5 extra-inning win over Mililani.
Next Up: Kailua and Leilehua in the 2nd OIA DI semifinal of the night. First pitch expected around 7:30 pm HST. pic.twitter.com/egkL6sQvUM— Paul Brecht (@12brecht) April 28, 2023
A battle between right-handers, Jayden Hunt got the start on the mound for Kailua while Bryden Takayama toed the slab for Leilehua.
Hunt would give up one hit in the opening frame but previewed what fans in attendance could expect to see between him and his counterpart for most of the evening by sitting down the other three batters he faced to open the game.
Takayama held serve in his half of the first, retiring the Surfriders without surrendering any runs.
The game’s only run would be scored in the top of the second inning, as a pair of Kailua errors coupled with a base hit allowed the Mules to push across a run and take a 1-0 lead.
It proved to be all that Takayama and the spectacular defense behind him would need against Kailua, as the pitcher twirled a gem and got some outfield assistance to keep the Surfriders scoreless.
The first of two incredible outfield assists came in the bottom half of the second inning, as Leilehua centerfielder Bryce Anzai gunned out a Kailua baserunner trying to score from second on a base hit. The perfect throw not only ended the inning, but also preserved the one-run lead for the Mules.
Wow.— Paul Brecht (@12brecht) April 28, 2023
Heckuva play by Leilehua CF Bryce Anzai, who throws a dot from center to the plate to throw out a runner trying to score.
Would’ve tied the game, instead it’s an 8-2 inning-ender. Leilehua still leads 1-0 after 2 innings.
Hunt continued to settle in with the game progressing, sitting down the Mules in order in the top of the third inning. Kailua threatened to tie the game again in the bottom of the inning with a two-out double and wild pitch but was unable to bring home the tying run.
Hunt retired the Leilehua hitters in order once again in the fourth inning before working into and around some trouble in the fifth inning to keep the score at 1-0.
Just as his counterpart for Kailua had done all night, Leilehua’s Takayama continued his stellar outing by getting Surfriders hitters to go down, 1-2-3, in the bottom half of the fifth and sixth innings.
Hunt provided one more shutdown inning of the Leilehua offense, setting up Kailua with a chance to tie or win in the bottom of the seventh inning if the Surfriders’ offense could figure out Takayama.
Masao Minami singled through the left side and advanced to third on a Kaimana Burgo single to set up Kailua with runners on the corners and one out. Smart base-running from Burgo saw him take second base after making Leilehua think twice about throwing down, giving Kailua the tying and winning runs in scoring position.
Unfortunately for the Surfriders, the wave towards the OIA Division I championship game came crashing down, thanks to an incredible double play turned by Leilehua leftfielder Keola Hanoa.
Hanoa caught a lineout and made a perfect throw from left field to home plate, where Zane Winter applied a perfect tag for the final out of the game and clinching a 1-0 win for Leilehua over Kailua.
FINAL: Leilehua 1, Kailua 0.— Paul Brecht (@12brecht) April 28, 2023
Outstanding defense all night is driven home by a #SCTop10 game-ending double play from the Mules’ LF Keola Hanoa, throwing out the runner at home to end the game and send Leilehua to the OIA DI title game tomorrow night.
Celebration practice? 👀 pic.twitter.com/dOxH30RW7D
Jayden Hunt went seven innings, giving up one unearned run on three hits and one walk while striking out five. Minami went 2-for-3 on the evening for the Surfriders.
Bryden Takayama went the distance for the Mules, pitching seven strong innings, giving up five hits, walking two and striking out five in the win for Leilehua.
The Mules advance to Friday’s OIA Division I championship game against Campbell, who were 6-5 winners against Mililani earlier in the evening.
Be sure to tune into coverage of both the OIA Division I and II baseball championships Friday evening starting at 4:00 P.M. HST, live on HSRN 95.1 FM, AM 760, and hawaiisportsradio.com. You can also always find previous broadcasts in our podcenter following the completion of games.
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