KEAAU – Kamehameha sophomore right-hander Kalani Marquez’ first no-hitter, a combined effort with Rydge Ishii, came by way of special delivery.
Marquez fired five innings, allowed one walk and hit a batter, and Ishii pitched the final frame as the Warriors defeated Hawaii Prep 10-0 in a BIIF Division II game Tuesday at Kame‘eiamoku Baseball Field.
“Marquez had good mound presence,” Kamehameha coach Andy Correa said. “He had command of his fastball and changeup. He kept the first two hitters off base and pitched ahead in the count.”
The six-inning TKO game turned lopsided once Ka Makani ace Jonah Hurney left. On a strict pitch count coming off basketball, Hurney allowed an unearned run in three innings for the loss.
The Warriors (2-0) exploded for eight runs in the fifth and scored the TKO run in the sixth against pitchers Sheldon Aribal and Finn Richmond.
It didn’t help that HPA (2-1) committed eight errors, which led to four unearned runs.
Meanwhile, Marquez allowed only two base runners and whiffed five. In the third, he walked No. 7 hitter Nalu Shimizu but recorded two strikeouts and a groundout. In the fifth, Aribal reached on an error but was erased on a double play.
Marquez was also helped out by his defense. Sophomore shortstop Kalia Agustin made several highlight players, including a charge-scoop-and-throw for an out and a sliding stop for another out.
“It’s my first no-hitter,” Marquez said. “Rydge did a good job getting outs, and the defense made plays out there.
“I was just throwing early strikes and letting my defense work. I was mostly throwing my fastball and changeup.”
At the top of his delivery, Marques has a little wrist wiggle. That little special delivery gives his pitches movement. It works because only two Ka Makani batters hit the ball hard.
In the second, cleanup hitter Richmond clocked a ball to center field but Kekona Naipo-Arsiga was right under it, and No. 5 batter Michael Hughes sliced a ball to left but Kahi Tolentino was well positioned for the putout.
“My dad, Jonathan, and some other coaches first taught me how to pitch,” Marquez said. “I get more movement on the ball when I release it (with the wrist wiggle). The advice my dad gave me is to stay ahead in the count.”
The first time through the order Marquez fired first-pitch strikes, pounding low fastballs on the corners. When he threw his changeup, Ka Makani hitters had no idea it was coming because he doesn’t change his arm speed.
Hurney pitches the same way, and he’s unafraid to work from behind in the count to get hitters to hit his pitch. A good example came in the third inning with a runner in scoring position, and No. 3 hitter Bula Ahuna at the plate.
“Jonah is a handful,” Correa said. “We made him work and got his pitch count up early.”
The HPA senior left-hander fell behind in the count 2-0. Then he whipped an outside fastball for a strike. On an ideal 2-1 hitter’s count, Ahuna was sitting fastball, but Hurney, with the same arm speed, crossed him with a changeup, and Ahuna swung.
Ahuna is a big, strong guy, and even though he was fooled and didn’t catch it flush he pulled the ball to third base. It was the grounder that Hurney wanted, but a fielding error let the run in.
Later when Aribal and Richmond came in, they couldn’t spot their fastballs or get their secondary pitches over for strikes. In the fifth, the Warriors capitalized with eight runs on nine hits.
Marquez went 2 for 3 with an RBI, DallasJ Duarte 2 for 3, Naipo-Arsiga 2 for 4 with an RBI, and Kalai Klask-Hoopii was 1 for 3 with two RBIs to lead Kamehameha’s 10-hit attack.
Correa also got up-and-down lineup contributions. All of his hitters had either a hit, run scored or RBI. The defense had one harmless error, and the pitching allowed no hits — an all-around good day.
The Warriors face another D-II showdown when they play Konawaena on Thursday at Gabby Inaba Field.