by Tiffany Garrett and Jeff Harada
|“It’s sad to see the season come to
an end, but we played great baseball,” said HPU Head Coach
Garett Yukumoto. “I tip my hat to our players that have
come a long way throughout this program, to give it their all
and to give some leadership and guidance. Hopefully they taught
our young guys so they can pick up the ball, and they taught
me a lot in this [my first] year.”
In the April 14 doubleheader, HPU came from behind to win the
first game 10-9. The Sea Warriors lead most of the game until
the Vulcans scored four runs on five hits in the fourth inning,
and pushing the lead to three with another run in the sixth.
Sophomore Michael Kealoha’s two-run single in the bottom
of the seventh capped a four-run HPU rally, and gave HPU the
victory. Sophomore reliever Pierce Manglallan picked up his third
win of the year after taking over for starter Mario Ramirez.
In the nightcap, Hilo held a 5-2 lead after five innings before
the Sea Warriors put two across in the sixth on a run-scoring
single from Jherell Miller, and an RBI from Costa, who was hit
by a pitch with the bases loaded. Hilo would add a run in the
seventh, making it 6-4, and set the stage for another dramatic
comeback. HPU cut the lead to one, and had the tying run on second
base with nobody out, but Hilo’s Vinny Biggs settled down
and got the next three batters, earning the save in relief of
Ryan Hanohano. Brandon Muser took the loss for HPU, after lasting
just 1.1 innings.
Both teams faced off the next day with another twin bill. The
Sea Warriors dominated the first game thanks in part to a stellar
outing by freshman Kevin Matsumoto who hurled a six-hit complete
game shutout en route to a 14-0 victory. Hilo did not give in,
and won the second game 3-2 to split the series. Senior starter
Ikena DuPont gave up three runs in the third inning, and three
Sea Warrior errors did not help matters. HPU added a run in the
fourth on an RBI-single by senior Gavin Concepcion, and another
in the seventh on a run-scoring single from Costa. With the tying
and winning runs on base however, the Sea Warriors could not
convert. DuPont took the loss, allowing just three hits and one
earned run in 4.2 innings.
At the end of the night, nine Sea Warrior seniors were honored
and showered with leis and gifts as they trotted around the bases
and threw from the mound one last time. Among the seniors recognized
were: Concepcion (Pearl City, Hawai‘i), Matt Burson (Mission
Viejo, California), Tyler Jefferson (Vancouver, Canada), Miller
(Pearl City, Hawai‘i), Mario Ramirez (Mission Viejo, California),
Chase Nakamura (Aiea, Hawai‘i), DuPont (Pearl City, Hawai‘i),
Brandon Sato (Aiea, Hawai‘i), and Costa (Waipahu, Hawai‘i).
All the HPU seniors, including Gavin Concepcion (top)
and Tyler Jefferson (bottom), took part in Senior Night
after the last game of the season against the visiting Vulcans.
Players had the chance to run around the bases or deliver a pitch
to home plate for the last time in a Sea Warrior uniform.
Photos by Baxter Cepeda