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by Janel Foster, staff writer

 

Last season HPU jumped to a 6-0 start sweeping CSU-Dominguez Hills. This year they’re doing it again with a 4-0 sweep of Biola University. In two doubleheaders on Feb. 2 and 3, HPU defeated Biola 13-1, 7-4, 7-6 and 6-4.
In game one, Biola walked 14 players and HPU swept to an easy 13-1 victory. Junior Chad Wagner pitched five innings and gave up no runs. Lester Akeo, a sophomore, one of many who had an outstanding series, ended it with a double, bringing Cheyenne Hirota home from first base. Akeo also delivered two RBIs and one run.
“ It was a great way to start off the season,” Akeo said. “Biola is ranked No. 4 in their division, so I was really proud of our team,” he added.
In the second game, southpaw pitcher Caelan O’Meara played five innings and gave up three runs with eight strikeouts. HPU finished the second game of the first doubleheader, 7-4, over the Eagles.
In the third game, HPU trailed on three different occasions and was scoreless for several innings, but tied the game 6-6 by the seventh inning. Hirota delivered a game-winning run in the eighth, bringing the Sea Warriors to 7-6.
“ This is one of three games where we had to come from behind to win,” Akeo said. Pitcher David Chow earned the win.
In the final game, Biola led 3-0, but HPU went on to score a run in each of the final four innings. HPU pulled off a final score of 6-4 after senior Jacob Valentine batted 4-4 with two runs scored.
“ It was a good opener,” Head Coach Garett Yukumoto said, adding that it also gave the team a good sense of the areas they need to improve.
Even though HPU has added 16 new players to the roster, the team as a whole feels optimistic this season.
“ It’s now in the beginning stages,” said Yukumoto. “But the team bonding is a lot closer this year. We just need to find the right chemistry to be a strong team.”
Several other players aided in the team’s victories. Pitchers Micah Takahashi, Kevin Matsumoto, and David Chow stayed calm under pressure, while sophomore Toby Inouye showed great skills at bat.
Although it is just the start of the season, Yukumoto said he believes confidence, determination, and hard work will drive the team to its goals in making it to the regional playoffs.
The Sea Warriors continued their season in a four-game series against Academy of Art University on Feb. 20 at Hans L‘Orange Park. Over a three-day period HPU walked away with four more wins. On Feb. 20, the team had a great start to the series beating AAU, 11-2. In the first game of the doubleheader the following day, the Sea Warriors edged past the Urban Knights, 5-2, and shut out AAU in the nightcap, 18-0. In the final game HPU ended the series with an 8-3 win, bringing their record to 8-0. The Sea Warriors continue the season with a six-game series Feb. 27 against UH-Hilo.

 

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