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Baseball team off to strong start

by Kyle Galdeira, editor


The HPU baseball team split a double-header with the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo and improved its record to 5-2. The Sea Warriors’ were scheduled to play seven-inning double-headers on Feb. 12 and 13 at Francis Wong Stadium in Hilo, but the last two games were cancelled due to rain.

HPU won the second game 10-6 after scoring five runs in the eighth inning, breaking a 5-5 deadlock. HPU scored two hits apiece from second baseman Bryan Daguio, designated hitter Jherell Miller, center fielder Greg Benoit and left fielder Chase Nakamura.


First baseman Alika Kuraoka homered and doubled in the first game, but the Vulcans shut the rest of the offense down and HPU lost 3-1.

HPU won four of its first five games thanks in part to outstanding pitching performances by a trio of freshmen from O‘ahu high schools. Spencer Omalza, Anthony Ganigan, and Pierce Manglallan each threw complete games as the Sea Warriors took four of a five-game series from visiting Longwood University (Va.) Lancers Feb 5-7 at Ke‘ehi Lagoon.

In the series finale, Omalza gave up two runs over nine innings enroute to a 15-2 victory. The Leilehua High School grad struck out three and gave up seven hits. Second baseman Brandon Sato and shortstop Grandon Costa scored three runs apiece while catcher Tyler Jefferson contributed with a two-run home run.

Manglallan and Ganigan, graduates of Mililani and Pearl City High School respectively, each held Longwood to two earned runs over seven innings as HPU picked up 9-2 and 6-3 victories in the Sunday double-header.

HPU broke the first game open with a six-run sixth inning sparked by back-to-back triples from Sato and right fielder Michael Kealoha. Benoit smacked a three-run home run.

In game two, Nakamura drove in two runs off of two doubles while Jefferson added two hits and scored twice. Designated hitter Jay Baptista supplemented the offensive attack with a solo home run.

The Saturday double-header saw the Sea Warriors strand 11 runners in each game. Junior transfer Mario Ramirez picked up the win in game one after allowing one run in six innings and striking out six Lancer batters. Omalza pitched a scoreless seventh and earned the save in the 2-1 victory. Kuraoka and Benoit each drove in a run for HPU.

Game two was tied 1-1 until Longwood turned three HPU seventh inning errors into six runs. HPU rallied in the bottom of the inning and loaded the bases, but could not catch up. Southpaw Cruz Hatanaka took the 7-3 loss. Sato tripled in a run and Daguio added an RBI double.

HPU played a six-game series against Sonoma State University (Calif.) Feb 17-19 at Ke‘ehi Lagoon.



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