‘Bows score 13 unanswered, vanquish Vulcans behind early offensive outburst

‘Bows score 13 unanswered, vanquish Vulcans behind early offensive outburst

‘Bows score 13 unanswered, vanquish Vulcans behind early offensive outburst

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED MAY 1, 2024

HONOLULU – If they only played half-an-inning, the UH-Hilo Vulcans would have had everything they needed to beat the ‘Bows of the University of Hawai’i-Mānoa. 

The Vulcans struck first on Tuesday evening, opening the scoring with a two-out RBI double from Trent Jackson to put Hilo ahead by a run just minutes into the 2nd meeting of the season between UH-Mānoa and UH-Hilo. 

Unfortunately for the Division II visitors, that lead was short-lived. 

The Rainbow Warriors answered back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the 1st as the first five batters in the frame reached. Kyson Donahue brought home the tying run with a base-hit to right field with the bases loaded and Austin Machado gave the ‘Bows the lead a couple pitches later as he crossed the plate with the help of a passed ball. 

Sean Rimmer extended the Hawai’i advantage with a leadoff homerun over the centerfield fence in the bottom of the 2nd, kicking off an offensive onslaught for the ‘Bows as five runs came home in the inning to make it 7-1 in favor of the home team. 

The offensive explosion continued for the Rainbow Warriors in the 3rd with two more runs as Machado was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Donahue grounded out for his second RBI of the evening to make it 9-1. After trading zeroes in the 4th inning, the ‘Bows got back to their scoring ways in the 5th with a trio of scores to push the lead into double-digits. 

Hawai’i closed out the scoring in the bottom of the 7th and continued to hold Hilo off the board, cruising to a 13-1 victory over their inter-island rival to complete the sweep of all four games against Hawai’i’s Division II programs. In all, UH outscored Chaminade, Hawai’i Pacific and UH-Hilo by 36 runs over the four meetings this season while only allowing four total runs. 

Vulcans’ starter Aaron Davies was charged with the loss for Hilo, going 1.0 innings and allowing seven runs (6 ER) on four hits and five free passes (2 walks, 3 HBP) while not making it out of the 2nd inning. Hilo struck out nine times in total, generating just three hits through nine innings as the Vulcans dropped to 19-31 to finish the season. 

Hunter Gotschall picked up the win for the ‘Bows, evening his record at 1-1 on the season. The right-handed reliever went two innings strong for UH, allowing just one baserunner on a walk while striking out three. Kyson Donahue led the Hawai’i offense, going 2-for-3 with three runs batted in while freshman two-way player Itsuki Takemoto picked up his first college hit in the 8th inning with a single up the middle. 

Hawai’i hosts Cal State Northridge for a three-game set this weekend, looking for a season-high sixth consecutive win when the two programs face off on Friday, May 3. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. HT.  

Chaminade and Hawai’i-Hilo split Friday doubleheader at Les Murakami

Chaminade and Hawai’i-Hilo split Friday doubleheader at Les Murakami

Chaminade and Hawai’i-Hilo split Friday doubleheader at Les Murakami

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED APRIL 6, 2024

HONOLULU — It was a tale of two different games.

Chaminade and Hawai’i-Hilo split their PacWest doubleheader Friday at Les Murakami Stadium and are currently tied at 1-1 in the regular season series.

The Silverswords (14-27 overall, 7-19 conference) won the first game of the twin bill with a 6-5 victory while the Vulcans (15-25, 8-18) snapped a nine-game losing streak with a dominant 14-0 victory in game two.

Chaminade won the first game in walk-off fashion when Ace Perry scored the winner on a wild pitch. 

Freshman left fielder Aydan Lobetos led the ‘Swords at the plate going 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

UH-Hilo held leads of 3-0 after the first inning and 5-3 after the fourth before Chaminade rallied for the win.

Zac Brown (2-1) got credited for the win on the mound for the ‘Swords, pitching in relief for starter Max Patterson, who went seven innings.

Game two was a different story with the Vulcans rapping out 15 hits and 14 runs in a seven-inning contest.

UH-Hilo took control of the game in the second inning when it scored four runs, but really broke the game open with an eight-run outing in the top of the fourth.

Cody Min led the Vulcans with three hits, Alec Yamauchi drove in the most runs with three RBIs and Vance Oshiro and Kyle Casados each scored three runs to power UH-Hilo.

Aaron Davies (3-4) earned the pitching win for the Vulcans with six strikeouts in four innings of work.

UH-Hilo will wrap up its stay on O’ahu in a Sunday double-header against Hawai’i Pacific while Chaminade will travel to the Vulcans’ home next weekend to close out the regular season series between the two teams. 

Local Pro, College coaches give back with USA Baseball Community Clinic at Farrington

Local Pro, College coaches give back with USA Baseball Community Clinic at Farrington

Local Pro, College coaches give back with USA Baseball Community Clinic at Farrington

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED DEC 18, 2023

KALIHI — Ten coaches, many with local Hawai’i ties that are sprinkled across the collegiate and professional baseball and softball landscape, came together this past Saturday evening for a five-hour clinic at Farrington HS in conjunction with USA Baseball — open to the public with a donation of $10 or more to the Maui Food Bank.  

In all, 15,000 meals were raised for the Maui Food Bank with San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Sean Manaea matching donations — wanting to help the cause. 

The event was split into five 45-minute presentations covering culture building, infield mechanics, pitching, bunting & baserunning along with a hitting Q&A panel with current and former professionals, all led by Hilo-native, Waiakea alum and current Cleveland Guardians Major League field coordinator Kai Correa. 

It was the third straight year that Correa has been able to put on the local clinic but the first time partnering with USA Baseball, who was referred to as a perfect partner for local Hawai’i baseball programs due to the amount of free resources USA Baseball provides — helping combat the lack of resources many programs face in Hawai’i. 

After a brief welcome from Andrew Bartman, the Director of Coaching Development for USA Baseball, Hawai’i Pacific University baseball head coach Dane Fujinaka began the informational portion of the clinic with a presentation about culture building and realistic player development plans. Among the main points touched on by Fujinaka and HPU strength & conditioning coach Skylar Yamamoto were making sure the team and individuals set goals before the season and to make sure those goals are attainable. 

CLE Guardians Major League fielding coordinator and Hilo native Kai Correa introduces HPU's Dane Fujinaka.

Yamamoto and Fujinaka often referred to the “lowest hanging fruit” that provides the most impact in players. To show this, the two coaches presented four case studies of players on the Sharks’ roster that increased pitch velocity, command, hitting for power and hitting for contact between spring and fall league games. The key often was that improvements were made in minimal ways but in impactful categories, looking to average exit velocity and maximum exit velocity for hitters and looking at strike percentage and fastball velocity averages for pitchers. 

As for culture building, creating healthy internal competition amongst the team with training groups and keep results posted for accountability. Fujinaka referenced the HPU baseball social media with graphics showing the team’s hardest throwers being posted as a list for everyone to see. That small piece of external proof of progress creates more intense competition while not gnawing at team camaraderie. 

Chaminade baseball’s head skipper Chad Konishi took the stage next, sharing the fundamentals of pitching for those in attendance with a focus on five specific keys to look at during the delivery of a pitcher — Balance, separation, direction, extension and anchor. 

Konishi believes that good pitching is built upon repeatable mechanics that are efficient. With a focus on those five keys, coaches can look to main categories to create a throwing motion for pitchers that is consistent and allows for instruction that is simple and connects with the player. 

The Silverswords head coach also discussed strategies for keeping runners close, the desire of what a pitcher wants to accomplish in controlling the run game and the body balance of pitchers. 

The clinic shifted to offense as University of Hawai’i-Hilo coach Jensen Sato got a chance to share the Vulcans’ secrets on developing strong running games on the base paths and proper bunting techniques and why each can be used in games. During the segment, Sato talked about the amount of preparation that goes into being a quality bunter and base runner before the game and moment that each skill is executed. 

Like many things in baseball, Sato shared that base running is built off of feel — the Vulcans coach runners to take the same lead each time by keeping the same routine for certain bases. Similarly for bunting, excellence in the technique comes from preparation by getting a player’s feet ready and balanced before trying to “catch” the ball with the bat to deaden it in the dirt. 

Those in attendance were treated to a special attendee as University of Washington softball head coach Heather Tarr spoke about the Huskies’ successful ways and how they’ve been able to build an elite program — presenting the blueprint of championship seasons. The near-lifetime Husky coach dropped multiple tidbits of knowledge and tools for young coaches to use but made sure to drive home that coaches and teams knew their “why” of a season, understanding that the “why” was the foundation and the “how” and “what” of seasons would help carry only as far as the foundation. 

Next was the Q&A panel that featured Kansas City Royals’ hitting coach Keoni DeRenne, Tampa Bay Rays’ prospect Shane Sasaki, former Chicago Cubs’ prospect Christian Donahue and former Milwaukee Brewers’ draft pick KJ Harrison to talk about various hitting topics, sharing their personal views on hitting and some of the best drills they found for working on specific movements in swings. Correa led the panel as the question mediator, keeping the conversation moving at a quick pace but allowing time for informational responses from the guests on stage. 

Correa closed the evening with an informative infield presentation of his own with the assistance of Fujinaka and former Washington softball superstar and current USA Softball player Sis Bates. The former San Francisco Giants interim manager talked about the five outs that are unaccounted for from regular ground ball outs, fly outs to the outfield and strikeouts. In that group, Correa showed, are rundowns, “stretch & picks”, pop flies, relays, re-directs and tags. In each of those instances there are little mechanical keys that great ball players in baseball and softball are able to do naturally without thinking to increase effectiveness. Some of those keys included preparation of the body before the ball arrives on a throw, efficient transitions from glove to hand and mental preparation of where the ball needs to go depending on placement of throw, among many other things. 

Overall, Correa and coaches were pleased with the outcome of the local clinic, hoping to continue the partnership with USA Baseball for years to come with the love of the sport in Hawai’i.