Surfriders Looking Good For DI State Baseball Tournament

For the Kailua High baseball team, this week’s Division I state tournament offers an opportunity to close out in a big way what already has been a distinguished season.

At the outset of 2014, Kailua looked to be a year away from serious contention in the OIA Red because of its youthful roster. But wins in six of its first seven games quickly solidified the team as a major player in the league.

Head coach Corey Ishigo and team were to learn Sunday night who their first opponent would be.

The state tourney runs Wednesday-Friday at Les Murakami Stadium at UH Manoa, and consolation games will be at Hans L’Orange Park in Waipahu. A look at Kailua’s prospects is below.

Kailua Surfriders at a glance 2014 Record: 11-4 overall (9-3 in the OIA Red East season, 2-1 at the OIA tournament, runner-up to Campbell)

Key wins: Over Moanalua 7-3 March 10, over Kalani 2-0 March 12, over Roosevelt 4-3 April 16, over Waipahu 14-4 May 1, over Mililani 4-3 May 2

Kailua through the years: The Surfriders have won four state titles in their proud history – 1965, 1967, 1969 and in 2001 under Ishigo. Since the Hawaii High School Athletic Association created two divisions in 2008, Kailua has qualified for the DI state tournament every year and has a 13-7-1 overall record in six appearances.

Did you know? Kailua (in 2009) is one of only two OIA Red East teams along with Moanalua (in 2011) to advance to the state title game since 2008.

What to watch: Buoyed by a 4-0 start (and wins in six of their first seven games), Kailua went on to win the Red East crown, securing the East’s No. 1 seed for the OIA’s post-season tournament. Once there, the team posted impressive wins over both Waipahu and Mililani to advance to the OIA title game, where they were defeated by Campbell.

A talented and deep pitching staff has helped them stay the course in 2014. Since mid-season, Ishigo has called on six different pitchers, including Joey Cantillo (three wins, two saves), Matthew Hanano (two wins), Dustin Imanaka (one win, two saves), Royce Komesu (three wins), Daniel Thomas (one win, 2.80 ERA) and Pilipo Kupahu. The Surfriders are 8-3 this season when giving up three runs or less.

Offensively, the top half of the batting order has come up big of late, as Peter Kanoho, Brendan Odo, Dalton Kalama, Noah Auld, Lawson Faria and Jamesone White (team-high .452 average) all are hitting better than .330.