KEAAU — Hawaii Prep right-hander Nate Heymann deserved a better fate, or at least not a tie, against Kamehameha on Friday, especially after the first inning in a BIIF game that was fun, interesting and exciting.
Ka Makani trailed 2-0 after the first inning, which included four errors and a balk. It’s not exactly a good feeling when the defense helps a bunch of young Warrior players stake an early lead.
But second-year coach Jeremy Lustik wouldn’t let his players feel discouraged. He’s a sunshine of energy and shouts positive instructions throughout the game.
“I would say it was a fun game. We didn’t play well early on. We gave them a couple of runs early,” he said. “I love playing them. They’re well-coached and historically it’s been hard for us to hang with them. It shows our guys what we’re trying to do.”
Lustik moved with his wife and two kids from Colorado last summer. He teaches math at HPA and coached prep ball in Denver for 20 years, so he’s seen it all.
As it turned out, Heymann is as resilient as his coach. The senior pitcher tossed six innings of three-run ball with three hits allowed. He was dominant and efficient with 13 strikeouts and only one walk on 101 pitches.
“It was the best start of his career,” Lustik said. “We’re excited for him because we’ve been waiting for him to turn that corner, and we’re still working with him to be a complete pitcher. It was a great performance. He attacked, and it’s a real credit to the hard work he’s put in.”
HPA showed a ton of perseverance and tied Kamehameha 3-3, despite getting only two hits, to cap a long overcast day at Kamehameha’s Kameeiamoku Field.
“It was a great learning experience, playing in a close game,” Kamehameha coach Andy Correa said. “A lot of good lessons when the score is tied in the last inning. Whether you fail or not, you’ve got to learn.”
Ka Makani tied it 2-2 with a two-run fifth. Braeden Samura walked and later scored on a wild pitch. Cade Arafiles, the No. 9 hitter, walked with the bases loaded.
The Warriors answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth when Hanalei Warren, the only senior, singled and later scored on a Ka Makani error.
HPA finished with six errors. Kamehameha had one error. It wasn’t a clean game, but it was fun because both teams struggled to hit the ball.
The visiting Ka Makani tied it 3-3 in the sixth when Ikaika Apilado reached on an error and scored on Heymann’s RBI single.
Samura pitched a scoreless inning. He walked two but struck out two.
Heymann and Kaden Parker had HPA’s only hits.
Warren batted 2 for 4 and scored two runs. Jacob Momohara had Kamehameha’s other hit.
Kamehameha left-hander Makana Carbonel-Mangus fired 3 2/3 innings of perfection. He whiffed six and gave way to Jonah Reich, who recorded two outs and allowed two runs. Salvatore Martino pitched 2 2/3 innings, surrendered a run, and struck out six.