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Kamehameha pitching holds Mid-Pacific

Mar. 29—Elai Iwanaga hurled five scoreless innings, allowing two hits, as No. 1 Kamehameha fought off No. 6 Mid-Pacific 5-1 on a sunny Thursday afternoon at Ala Wai Community Park.

Elai Iwanaga hurled five scoreless innings, allowing two hits, as No. 1 Kamehameha fought off No. 6 Mid-Pacific 5-1 on a sunny Thursday afternoon at Ala Wai Community Park.

Alaka 'i Kiakona and Kaikai Kaneshiro closed out the game on the mound for the Warriors, who improved to 4-1 in ILH play.

"Hat's off to Elai today. He was very good, " Kamehameha coach Daryl Kitagawa said. "Alaka "i was good. Kaikai did his job, too. They've got good stuff, good upbringing as kids. For me and the coaching stuff, just managing them, making them learn and understand, buying into what we're trying to do. It's a team game. You're not going to throw that 110 (pitches ). We're going to pull them out regardless if they're throwing a no-hitter or perfect game. It's about trusting that next guy up."

Gusts blowing in from mauka gave Iwanaga, a junior right-hander, added confidence.

"It was really gusty. The wind really played a factor into my slider. When the wind blows out, it makes (the slider ) break a little sharper, " said Iwanaga, who struck out four and walked three.

Just five days earlier, it was Kiakona who started, with Iwanaga pitching in relief for a narrow win over Maryknoll. 'Iolani handed the Warriors their first loss of the ILH season, 6-5, on Tuesday.

"It's good to have a bounce-back win after that kind of brutal loss, " said Kiakona, also a junior. "It's always good to get that work in at practice, come bounce back and handle business. Our coach has a rough idea of who's going to go that day. You just always got to have to be ready. You never know when your name will be called."

Mid-Pacific handed Saint Louis its first loss of the regular season on Tuesday, 4-1. The young Owls got a hearty effort from starting pitcher Keola Young, but miscues derailed their chances.

MPI is 4-2 in league play, somewhat of a surprise for a program that lost 12 players in preseason when they were expelled by the school.

"We're about as good as we can be right now, at this point, " Mid-Pacific coach Dunn Muramaru said. "We can get better. We've played well enough. The ILH is so tough. Anybody can beat anybody. We've got to get better."

The Owls remain just one game behind co-leaders 'Iolani and Saint Louis in the standings.

"They've got a Hall of Fame coach who instills a culture, teaches fundamentals and how to play the game right, and they buy into that, " Kitagawa said. "If they don't, they won't be part of their program. It's all about that leadership from the top. It starts with Coach Dunn (Muramaru ). I have the utmost respect for him, his players, his coaches. All his players who came before him. I love what he does. He's a mentor, an idol to all of us younger guys."

As usual, the strength of the league from top to bottom is impressive. The lone Division II team, Damien, is 3-3 against its D-I brethren.

MPI had runners in scoring position in three of the five innings Iwanaga was on the mound, coming up empty.

Kamehameha went ahead in the bottom of the first inning. Greyson Osbun singled with one out, then advanced to second base on a passed ball. Jayden Montero then singled to left, scoring Osbun.

The Warriors tacked on a single run in the bottom of the third. Montero singled with one out, stole second and third bases, then came home on a two-out single to left by Kaulana Quinlan.

The Warriors scored one more run in the bottom of the fourth frame. Taj Uyehara drew a one-out walk from Young and Jace Souza singled to right field. Courtesy runner Kaleb Flores continued to third base and Goeas, the shortstop, misfired on a throw to first base, but Flores was thrown out at home plate.

A throwing error by the second baseman, Lum, on a ground ball by Osbun allowed Souza to score.

Kamehameha tagged relief pitcher Luke Takakuwa-Holtey for two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Matthew Zarriello walked with one out and pinch hitter Kingston Lee was hit by a pitch with two outs. Uyehara then drilled a long shot into the jet stream to right center. His triple plated both baserunners for a 5-0 Warriors lead.

The Owls got on the scoreboard in the seventh frame against Kaneshiro. With two outs, Kurata walked, stole second base and came home on Adam Kobayashi's single to right.

On Saturday, Kamehameha will battle Damien, while MPI will host Maryknoll.