Out of his 64 pitches, Hilo right-hander Ryan Ragual made one small mistake, and it cost him a shot at his first no-hitter.
Ragual fired a one-hitter, and the Vikings thumped Hawaii Prep 11-1 in a five-inning TKO BIIF doubleheader on Thursday at Wong Stadium.
“My stuff was good,” he said. “Everything was working, fastball, changeup, and splitter.”
In the second game, the Vikings defeated Keaau 18-3 in a rare weekday doubleheader to catch up on canceled dates due to the wettest season in league history.
Briden Silva pitched 1 2/3 innings for the win, Kekoa Ogawa went 1 1/3 innings, and Lamaku Pana threw an inning for Hilo (7-1), which pounded 19 hits in the four-inning TKO.
Puukani De Sa was 3 for 3 with four RBIs, Logan Respicio went 3 for 3 with two RBIs, Nainoa Kane-Yates 3 for 4 while Micah Bello, Ragual, Maui Ahuna, and Paul Anthony each had two hits.
Bryant Respicio-Mercado took the loss for the Cougars (0-8). He had two hits, Dylan Kamakea also had two hits, and Bronson Pili had two RBIs.
In Game 1, Ragual’s opportunity at perfection and a shutout were gone in the first inning when his defense committed two throwing errors, which led to an unearned run.
Defense took the day off. Hilo finished with two errors while the Division II Ka Makani (5-4) had six, which led to six unearned runs.
Ragual walked one and struck out seven, retiring 12 in a row after No. 2 hitter Skyler Roque-Sunahara scored in the first inning.
In the fifth with one out, Ragual dropped a 1-2 count on No. 6 batter Ry Bleckel. His next pitch was an outside fastball that caught too much of the plate, and Bleckel singled up the middle.
“It was missed location on the outside,” Ragual said. “It was supposed to be a waste pitch.”
Then Ragual sandwiched two strikeouts around a walk to Daniel Groves to close the inning. The score stood 9-1, Hilo.
Two more runs were needed for the TKO. Ahuna provided a two-run single in the bottom of the fifth off reliever Michael Hughes, HPA’s fourth pitcher.
Finn Richmond started and pitched one-plus inning, facing four batters in second, and took the loss.
In the first, his defense committed four errors, which led to five unearned runs.
Jonah Hurney followed with two innings of one-run relief, Roque-Sunahara tossed a frame, and Hughes recorded two outs in the fifth.
De Sa went 2 for 3 with three RBIs, Dayson Urbanozo-Moses batted 2 for 3 with two RBIs, Donald Saltiban Jr. had two hits, and Bello scored three runs for Hilo.
The game exposed HPA’s search for a catcher. Hilo’s base stealers went a perfect 7 for 7. In the first, Bello singled, stole second and third and scored on a catcher’s throwing error.
The game also exhibited excellent pitching by Ragual and Hurney, who entered in the second with two on and no outs.
Hurney couldn’t find his release point and walked Respicio to fill the sacks. He got a comebacker and threw home, then whiffed the next two batters to end the inning.
In the third with one out, Hurney faced Bello, an MLB draft candidate, and it was an intriguing cat-and-mouse matchup.
Hurney fell behind 2-1, a hitter’s count for Bello, who has a quick-twitch athletic bat. An offspeed pitch was high for a ball.
On the 3-1 pitch, Hurney changed eye level and velocity. He whipped a low fastball for a strike, a good pitcher’s pitch.
Bello showed great plate discipline to take it and run the count full. Hurney changed eye level again with a high fastball. Bello wouldn’t bite the bait and walked.
Hurney committed HPA’s sixth error when an errant pickoff throw allowed Bello to race to third base. Saltiban followed with an RBI single for the sixth unearned run.
Meanwhile, Ragual was just rolling along and hoping that the rain wouldn’t make another unwelcomed visit.
“It was a good win,” he said. “We wanted to bring it and get games in after all the rain delays and postponed games.
“It would have been my first no-hitter. After the hit, I had to forget about it and concentrate on the next batter.”
After he graduates, Ragual plans to head to Hawaii Community College and follow in his father’s footsteps and become an electrician. His dad, Russell, works at Wasa Electrical.
But before that, Ragual has more starts under his belt, all the better to chase that elusive no-hitter.