(Makaeo Ball fields – Kailua Kona, Hawaii) The Rebels completed the first day of play at the Hawaii State Tournament with a stunning 18 – 7 victory over Onipa’a of the Big Island. Gary Yates and Myles Yoshida teamed up to throttle the perennial A bracket squad over 6 innings. The duo stopped the veteran club on 13 hits, allowing scores in only three innings.
The Rebels continued to put on an impressive hitting display against Onipa’a pitcher, coach Harold Hocson. The Kauai squad scored in all six innings, racking up 25 hits en route to a double header win to open the tournament. With the 18 runs, the Rebels posted a total of 34 runs on the first day of play. Every player in the starting line-up got at least hit.
For the second consecutive game, the Rebels rang up 5 runs in the inning, this time playing as visitors. Dave Stevens and Russ McCluskey welcomed the Onipa’a lobs with back to back singles putting runners at the corners. Lambert Alapai then lifted a high fly ball to right field, deep enough to score Stevens from third. Tom Christy stepped up and demolished a ball into left for a long RBI double. Mark Koehler’s single to left allowed pinch runner Ray Gordon to turn on the burners and race home from second for the third run. Joed McCluskey came to the plate and ripped a changeup for a double over the center fielder’s head scoring Koehler. The fifth and final run came on J Robertson’s line drive into right plating Russ running for his brother and a 5 spot was hung on the scoreboard to start the game.
The Rebel defense came through in the bottom of the first retiring the opposition on a fly ball to right, a pop up to second and a ground out from short to second.
Ohana Motors kept the foot on the pedal in the second when Gary Yates’ boomed a lead-off double to the base of the right field wall. Larry Rego picked up an RBI with a sharp line drive into left sending pinch runner Ray Gordon home scoring for the second time in two innings. Myles Yoshida found a gap in left and drilled a shot into the hole for the third straight hit (7 straight going back to include the first) putting two on the bases. Second baseman Tom Kuhlman rolled a grounder to short that took a mysterious route causing an error, sending pinch runner Joe Sablan to third and Yoshida to second with Kuhlman safely aboard at first. Stevens watched four offerings miss completely and took an RBI walk keeping the bases loaded. Russ McCluskey was called to the plate with the sacks full and a wounded pitcher on the mound. A grapefruit sized toss was sent like a lightning bolt right back at the pitcher who knocked it down and he gunned out Yoshida at home plate. Alapai, with another chance to pick up some ribbies, laced a laser beam down the right field line for two runs sending one of Hawaii’s perennial top teams running for shelter. Tom Christy brought the assault to a halt with a run scoring single up the middle to plate the fifth run of the top of the second.
The Rebels took the field in the bottom of the second defending a 10-0 lead. Onipa’a came back with a single to left to start the second. Second baseman Kuhlman made a nice heads-up play, spearing a ground ball and tossing to shortstop Alapai at second for a force out kept the runner at first. A second hit to left put runners at first and second. Both runners tagged up on a fly out to right put two in scoring position with two away. The attempt at a rally dissolved with an inning ending ground ball down the line for an unassisted out at first. The Rebels were able to hang on to their big lead coming to bat in the third.
Mark Koehler lead off the inning taking two pitches deep over the plate. The Onipa’a right hander then caught the far edge of the plate for a strike. The 2-1 offered sauntered over the plate and Koehler jumped on the pitch, exploding a shot into the farthest recesses of center field and racing around the bases for a lead-off triple. Onipa’a looked like they had been run over by a freight train before catching a lucky break on a foul tip into the catcher’s mitt for an easy out icing the runner at third. Robertson, looking for an easy RBI, drove the ball into right center scoring Koehler for the Rebels 11th run.
Everyone knows that Champions play with pride and Onipa’a was no exception, putting together a furious rally in the bottom of the third to stay in the game. The inning began harmlessly enough on a two hopper back to the mound for the first out. Then it got interesting with a hit to right, followed by a single to left and another single to left for a run. The fifth batter kept the cycle going with a double into deep left scoring two more runs. A fielder’s choice got the second out but allowed the fourth run of the inning. A final hit to right scored another run and gave the Big Island 11 some hope with a five-run inning of their own and an opportunity to climb back in the game at 11 to 5.
The Rebels continued with a steady assault and added two more in the 4th on back-to-back singles by Kuhlman and Stevens, who scored on back-to-back RBI hits by Alapai and Christy. The Rebels returned to the field in the bottom of the 4th with a big 13 to 5 edge.
The pride and joy of Ohana Motors went to their well-stocked bullpen calling on right hander Myles Yoshida. He came in from his right field position to take over on the mound. Onipa’a would not go quietly and scratched out a single run in the home half of the fourth on a lead- off double to right and a run-scoring single to center to cut the lead to 13-6.
The Rebels continued the persistent offense by scoring three times in the 5th inning. Joed McCluskey and Robertson opened the inning with consecutive base hits up the middle into center field. A walk and two fielder’s choices erased the first two but loaded the bases. Kuhlman delivered his second hit of the game – reaching base for the third straight time while knocking in a run. Dave Steven’s cleaned up the bases with a two-run peach peeler into left to build the run advantage back to ten runs at 16 to 6.
Onipa’a refused to fold and added another run in the bottom of the 5th on another lead-off single. A pure sprinter was sent in to pinch run at first with no outs. A ball hit up the middle was enough for the track star to race all the way around the bases to home plate before the single was recorded. Any chance of a rally was cut short on a spectacular play by Kuhlman at second base, stabbing a ball headed to center and throwing the batter out at first on a perfect toss. A fly ball to left and a line drive shot at short ended the inning without further damage.
The Rebels came to bat in the top of the sixth with a 16 to 7 lead. Due to time limits this was to be the final inning of the game and a long day in the sweltering Kona heat. Clay Carvalho started the inning with a herculean blast just short of the summit of Mauna Loa for a triple. He was held to a triple as the Kona Coffee Pickers threw the ball back very quickly. Tom Christy capped a perfect four for four day with his third seam splitter past third as Carvalho scampered home. Koehler reached on an error by the third baseman still trying to recover his senses after the Christy blast. Joed McCluskey’s launch to the wall in center and a run scoring double capped the scoring at 18 to 7 headed into the final at bat for the home team.
Yoshida took the vog-shrouded mound to lock up the second win of the day. He tossed a spinner and got a ground ball deep down the third base line. Christy back handed the ball and fired across the diamond in time for the first out. The lanky right hander bore down on the lead-off hitter coaxing a sharp hit ground ball to shortstop that Alapai took care of for the second out. Yoshida wrapped it up with a come-backer to the mound and a one-two-three inning to lock up the victory.
Lead-off hitter Dave Stevens, clean-up Tom Christy, pinch hitter Clay Carvalho and catcher Larry Rego were perfect at the plate. Stevens 3 for 3 with a walk, Christy 4 for 4, and Carvalho came off the bench and went 2 for 2 and Rego went 2 for 2 to pace the 25 hit Rebel hitting. Joed McCluskey and J Robertson were 3 for 4 while Tom Kuhlman was 2 for 3 and Mark Koehler was 2 for 4. Russ McCluskey, Lambert Alapai, Gary Yates, and Myles Yoshida added a hit each.
The Rebels had plenty of extra base hits, six in all with two doubles by Joed McCluskey as the extra hitter, Clay Carvalho and Mark Koehler crushed triples to go with doubles from J Robertson and Gary Yates. The strategic hitting display stranded just 6 runners – only 4 in scoring position.
Yates gets credit for the win, his second of the tournament, as he tossed the first three innings giving up 5 runs and 10 hits. Yoshida closed out the game also going three innings. The relief artist surrendered 2 runs on a stingy 4 hits preserving the victory. At the end of the day the Rebels posted two victories with a single game remaining in the initial round of play. Still to come in the round robin “play in” are the dangerous Junk Yard Dogs from Hilo.
The post-game meal started with taquitos with guacamole and chips, supplemented by hamburger slider appetizers. The main dinner consisted of perfectly roasted pork with homemade gravy from Top Chef Grady Cabral. The main course was accompanied by grilled corn on the cob, mixed greens and vegetable salad with Bob’s Blue cheese dressing, and steamed rice. The dessert buffet featured cheesecake, cookies, Haagen Das Ice Cream Bars, and cream pie. Wine and assorted coolers flowed along with the customary chilled refreshments.
Hitting: Tom Christy 4-4, Dave Stevens 3-3, Clay Carvalho 2-2, Larry Rego 2-2, Joed McCluskey 3-4, J Robertson 3-4, Tom Kuhlman 2-3, Mark Koehler 2-4, 1 Hit: Russ McCluskey, Lambert Alapai, Gary Yates, Myles Yoshida
Extra Base Hits: 3B) Clay Carvalho, Mark Koehler, 2B) Joed McCluskey (2), J Robertson, Gary Yates