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Hunt provides solid relief as No. 8 Kailua downs Moanalua

Mar. 31—Rayvin Pagan belted a two-run home run and Jayden Hunt fired 51 /3 scoreless innings in relief as No. 8 Kailua overwhelmed Moanalua 9-1 on Saturday.

Rayvin Pagan belted a two-run home run and Jayden Hunt fired 51 /3 scoreless innings in relief as No. 8 Kailua overwhelmed Moanalua 9-1 on Saturday.

Hunt's fastball was efficient, as he threw just 67 pitches after starter Zayne Hookala reached his pitch limit for the week. The tall junior struck out six, walked none and permitted just one hit in a near-flawless performance.

"Hunt was ready to go. He threw strikes. Got ahead. Just went at'em, " Hunt said. "You can't defend walks. Let our defense work and make plays behind him."

Kailua improved to 6-1 in OIA East play, unbeaten since losing to Moanalua in the regular-season opener, 5-3, at the Surfriders' field.

"We're getting better. I know we can still improve on a lot of things, " Surfriders coach Corey Ishigo said. "But we're moving in the right direction."

Pagan, a burly junior first baseman, went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Designated hitter Masao Minami went 3-for-4 with an RBI double, scoring two runs.

"It was great. Every time I go to bat, I look for fastball down the middle, something I can hit hard, " the left-handed hitter said. "The beginning of the season, kind of a rough start against Moanalua, but now I think we'll be OK as long as we hit. We've got the pitching."

Hunt is now 4-0 in league play with 14 strikeouts and five walks in 171 /3 innings. An 0.40 ERA—one earned run—is testament to his simple approach.

"We were being positive. I knew the team had my back. I felt pretty good from the pen, locating really well. Accuracy was there, " Hunt said. "We brought the energy today. That's a big thing for our team. Don't let the other team get in our heads. Just play ball. Our confidence level is through the roof. All the small things matter."

Moanalua is enduring a four-game losing streak after opening OIA East play 3-0.

"At any given time, any team can win. We're just not playing that way that we need to or we're capable of. That's baseball, " Na Menehune coach Blaine Watanabe said.

The visitors chased Moanalua starting pitcher Hunter Nishina before the southpaw could get a single out. He walked the first three batters before Ale Kuhaulua slapped a first-pitch single to right field, scoring Kaimana Burgo from third base.

After Minami singled to right, scoring Zayne Hookala, Moanalua replaced Nishina with Brandon Deth. Pagan then scored on a wild pitch, and Kalama Carreira singled to center, scoring Kuhaulua from third for a 4-0 lead.

Ryce Aoki's 4-6-3 double-play grounder allowed Minami to score Kailua's fifth run of the opening frame.

Moanalua responded with its only run in the bottom of the first. Rayden Miguel led off with a single to center, and Dawson Sugawa walked. Miguel advanced to third base on a passed ball, then scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Tanner Pangan.

Kailua will play Kalani at Kahala Field on Wednesday. Moanalua will meet Farrington at Joey DeSa Field, also on Wednesday.