Nobu Yamauchi RBI baseball coach Earl Moses understandably wasn’t worried about conserving his pitchers at the RBI West Regional in Los Angeles, figuring he’d worry about it when the time came.
That time is now — the ages 16-18 team from Hilo rode strong pitching performances Saturday from Logan Wilson and Cody Hirata to reach Sunday’s Senior championship game, where they’ll face Arizona at 8:30 a.m. Hawaii time.
The title game will be a rematch of last year’s final, which Arizona won 10-0, but Nobu Yamauchi already gained a leg up Saturday, beating Arizona 8-4, getting a four-hit game from Dayson Moses, a home run off the bat of Cody Kunimitsu and a stellar outing from Hirata.
“Every year (Arizona) is the team to beat,” Moses said, “but now we’re in their head.”
He just has to piece together some pitching, and the leading candidates are Braeden Coloma, Edward Oguma Jr. and Casey Yamauchi, who pitched in relief of Hirata.
Wilson delivered a gem Saturday in a 9-0 win against Mexicali 9-0. Paul Antony, Ryan Cabreira and Toby Estrella collected two hits apiece.
Hilo’s Nobu Yamauchi RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program is looking for its first spot in the World Series since the Seniors won the 2017 West Regional. This year’s group is the only team from Nobu Yamauchi still in contention in Los Angeles after the baseball Juniors (13-15) and the under-19 softball team were eliminated Saturday.
Moses likes his team’s chances because of its bats.
“We have power,” he said. “I thought we would go a long way because we have power.”
Antony hit a home run Friday in a 6-5 win against Los Angeles, a game in which Jantzden Kahee started on the mound. The only loss came Friday, 6-3 to Seattle.
On Saturday, Nobu Yamauchi trailed Arizona by a run until it scored five runs in the fourth behind hits from Dayson Moses, Cabreira, Estrella, Drew Basque, Teagan Tamiya and Casey Yamauchi. Cabreira, Estrella and Basque each had two hits.
Hilo’s ages 13-15 team finished 1-3, the win coming in an 11-6 triumph against Mexicali in which Devin Garza hit a two-run home run.
Joshua Ward also homered at the tournament, a three-run shot.
“We played teams straight up,” coach Kyle Wada said. “Just the way the ball bounces.”
A changed format and a single run cost Nobu Yamauchi a chance to play for a championship, coach Tracy Miyashiro said.
Nobu Yamauchi rode Brooke Baptiste’s three-hitter to a 5-1 victory against Arizona on Saturday and a 2-2 mark, but as it turned out the under-19 team needed to win by five runs to take the tiebreaker and advance to the championship, which Miyashiro didn’t realize until after the game.
“During the coaches’ meeting, they didn’t explain how they changed the format,” Miyashiro said.
He was under the impression his team needed to beat Arizona by six runs to advance, so in the final inning with a runner on third with one out and four-run lead, he played it straight to try to get two runs.
“If I had known we only needed one run, I would have squeezed the runner home,” Miyashiro said.
Afterward, he said he had a heated discussion with an RBI official.
“I can blame MLB and RBI,” he said, “but I’ll take the blame.”
Nobu Yamauchi lost to Anaheim and Arizona on Friday, but it bounced back in its first game Saturday with victory against Los Angeles. Mia Joaquin belted two triples and drove in six runs and also earned the win in the circle
“The girls played very well,” Miyashiro said. “I look forward to watching them play in the future.”