Momentum Leads Leilehua, Mililani, Waialua Into Playoffs
The “Second Season” has arrived for Leilehua, Mililani and Waialua high schools. With the OIA baseball playoffs set to begin this week, MidWeek Islander takes a look at the post-season resume for all three teams.
Head coach Lane Watanuki
Season record: 5-7
Signature wins: At Waianae (3-2) March 7; Mililani (3-2) March 24; at Pearl City (3-2) April 4; Campbell (2-0) April 14.
Next up: The Mules will play a first-round game at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday versus host Kaiser. The winner advances to a second-round game Thursday at Campbell.
Players to watch: Dadrian Ah Quin, Bronson AnchetaMaeda, Aaron-Craig Higa, Josh Lorenzo, Larry Paas, Kenan Sadanaga, Albert Talaroc and Aaron Taoy.
Mules at a glance: Perhaps no team in the OIA played in more close games than the Mules. Indeed, seven of their 12 games were decided by one run, while four others were decided by two runs. With a 2-5 record to start, the Mules were in playoff mode just to make the post-season over the past three weeks. Monumental wins over fellow playoff-qualifiers Pearl City, Mililani and Campbell pushed the Mules over the top in that quest. They figure to be a tough out this week in the OIA tournament. The senior class is the first to pass through the program under Watanuki. Leilehua is seeking a second straight state tournament appearance.
Head coach Mark Hirayama
Season record: 6-6
Signature wins: Campbell (4-2) at home March 13; at Campbell (7-6) March 19; Waianae (6-5) at home March 28; at Aiea (7-6) April 13.
Next up: The Trojans host Kalani at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in a first-round playoff game. The winner advances to a second-round matchup Thursday against host Kailua.
Players to watch: Chad Uyehara, Kanoa Hironaka, Ekolu Ramos, Shanztyn Agbayani-Shibao.
Trojans at a glance: The youthful Trojans finished the season strong, winning four of their last six to solidify their playoff position for this week. Like the rest of its Red West foes, close games have been the pattern for Hirayama’s team, as six of 12 games were decided by a single run. The numeral four is the “magic number” for Mililani. The Trojans are 6-2 when scoring four runs or more – and they’re seeking a fourth straight Division I state tournament appearance.
Head coach Terry Onizuka
Season record: 5-5
Signature wins: At McKinley (11-4) March 10; Kaimuki (3-1) at home April 7; Farrington (8-6) at home April 14.
Next up: The Bulldogs play a first-round game against host Kaimuki at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. The winner advances to a semi-final matchup Friday at Waipahu.
Players to watch: Justin Tantog, Robert Ladia, Kekai Rivera-Albeso, Shannon Fisher-Larue, Mykal Guigui.
Bulldogs at a glance: Waialua finished its regular season with three straight wins over Kaimuki, Nanakuli and Farrington to reach the .500 mark and gather some momentum for this week’s OIA DII tournament. They also came closer than any other team in the West Division to beating league-leader Waipahu, dropping a hard-fought 6-4 decision back on March 28. A rematch with the Marauders could be on the bill if Waialua can take care of business versus the other Bulldogs (Kaimuki) Thursday.