Talented Trojans A Solid Favorite In Baseball Playoffs
The Mililani baseball team can’t help but regard this week’s Division I state tournament as an opportunity to finish some unfinished business.
Indeed, with a pair of runner-up finishes the past two seasons, the Trojans are arguably the most seasoned team in the state, with key veterans throughout their lineup. Can Mililani take the next step and deliver the school’s first- ever state baseball title? Central Oahu Voice takes a look at the Trojans’ postseason prospects.
The DI baseball championships will be played Wednesday through Saturday at University of Hawaii’s Les Murakami Stadium. Pairings for both tournaments were to be revealed Sunday.
The Mililani File
Record: 12-3 overall. The Trojans went 10-2 in the OIA Div. I West regular season to earn the league’s No. 2 seed for the conference postseason tournament.
Waipahu (7-5 on the road) March 21; Campbell (2-1 in eight innings at home) March 28; Leilehua (1-0 on the road) April 1; Kailua (7-0) in the semifinals of the OIA tournament April 24
How They Got Here — OIA DI Tournament Recap: Defeated (East No. 3 seed) Moanalua (6-0) in the quarter- finals; defeated (East No. 1 seed) Kailua (7-0) in the semi- finals; lost to (West No. 1 seed) Campbell in the cham-
Did You Know:
The Trojans went more than a month — from March 7 to April 10 — without losing a game, compiling a 9-0 record in that stretch.
The History — Mililani at the state tournament:
Mililani has been the DI state baseball tournament runner-up each of the past two seasons. The Trojans, who are making their fifth state tournament appearance in the last six years, also placed fourth in 1987. Trojans head coach Mark Hirayama owns a 9-5-2 all-time record in state tournament games.
Trojans at a Glance:
Mililani’s 2015 resume shows a team poised for yet another riveting tournament run. Even with their heartrending loss to Campbell in the OIA title game, there can be no doubt the Trojans are built to last. Pitching, defense and depth, lest anyone forget, traditionally carry the day in the postseason, and Hirayama’s club has been solid in those areas.
Senior Micah Chinen and junior Koa Eastlack led the Trojan pitching staff with 79.6 innings pitched between them. The pair also have been among the best in the state at not issuing walks, as Chinen ranks first (four walks issued) and Eastlack ranks fourth (six walks). Chinen’s ERA is an impressive .085 with Eastlack right behind at 1.27. Seven of Mililani’s 12 wins have come by way of shutouts.
The Trojans also have been in their share of close games, having been involved in seven decided by a single run so far this season. (Mililani is 4-3 in those games.)
Mililani’s record is just 1-3 when giving up four runs or more.
Offensively, the Trojans have been hitting their stride at the perfect time, having tal- lied 30 runs over their last six games.
Senior catcher Sean Sonognini (team-leading 18 hits) and junior outfielder Kaimana Souza-Paaluhi (nine runs scored, five stolen bases) are among the Trojans who have figured big in that stretch.