Hard-hitting Ka Makani overpower Dragons
HONOKAA — On the mound, DJ Sekiya got stronger. At the plate, Hawaii Prep picked up steam and hit the ball harder. Considering how long Tuesday’s Big Island Interscholastic Federation baseball game lasted, one almost could say Ka Makani simply got better with age.
Sekiya scattered seven hits in a complete game and Mike Nakahara fueled a 19-hit attack with a home run and a double as HPA powered past Honokaa 13-2.
“I had everything working on my pitches,” Sekiya said. “Fastball, curveball, changeup. I got the batters to chase.
“After the first inning, I went back out and started feeling good.”
The junior left-hander finally put away the Dragons (2-3) when the game was about 2 hours, 50 minutes old, with darkness beginning to set in at Honokaa Park.
“It felt like a long game, but we’ll take it,” coach Jordan Hayslip said after first-place Ka Makani improved to 5-0 in Division II.
HPA broke open the game by scoring 10 runs in the final three innings.
Each member of its starting lineup compiled at least one hit and seven different players drove in a run.
Nakahara led the way, going 3 for 4 with three RBIs. In the third, the senior cleared the fence in centerfield for his first career home run, a solo shot.
“Fastball, first pitch, new bat; it felt good,” Nakahara said.
Sekiya allowed an RBI single to Austin Jardine to tie the game 1-1 in the first. But he got into a groove, retiring 11 consecutive hitters in the middle innings until Kamaehu Richards belted a solo home run to center in the sixth.
Sekiya struck out seven and walked one in what Hayslip called a “vintage” 94-pitch performance.
“I don’t expect anything less from him,” catcher Nakahara said.
It rained at the start before drying up. Ka Makani led 3-1 entering the fifth, and then the hit parade began.
Sekiya and No. 8 hitter Kana’i Gaughen each collected three hits, while Koa Ellis, Ian Rice, Cyrus Inglis and Lii Purdy each finished with two.
“I was very happy with the way we hit the ball,” Hayslip said.
He wasn’t as content with how HPA ran the bases. Two players were picked off, a third got caught lagging off first after a flyout and another was thrown out on a rundown at third.
“There is always something to work on,” Hayslip said.
Ikena Juan, the first of four Honokaa pitchers, worked 1 1/3 innings and allowed two runs, two walks and two hits in taking the loss. Caden Perreira-Lau pitched until the fifth.
Johnathan Charbonneau finished 2 for 3 with a double for the Dragons.
Richards’ home run was the second of his career.
“We’re a young, inexperienced team,” Dragons coach Gayne Kobayashi said. “It was great for us to face that kind of pitcher.
“Hats off to Mr. Sekiya.”
Hawaii Prep 111 023 5 — 13 19 1
Honokaa 100 001 0 — 2 7 2
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