Sabers clinch regular-season crown
By Fred Guzman
It wasnâ€™t pretty, but it was exciting.Â That, in a nutshell, describes last nightâ€™s pivotal MIL baseball game at Iron Maehara Stadium.
Baldwin needed to sweep its regular-season-ending, three-game series against Maui High.
On Wednesday, the Bears took a step in that direction with a 9-8, nine-inning victory.Â Last night, Baldwinâ€™s comeback bid fell short as the Sabers held on for a 6-4 win to clinch the Division-I regular season crown and a berth in the state tournament.
Thereâ€™s still a lot of baseball ahead, proving the Bears â€“ and the remaining MIL hopefuls â€“ with an alternate road to states.Â They can qualify by winning next weekâ€™s MIL tourney.Â And all still have a shot at the leagueâ€™s overall title.
After struggling during his first two innings, Maui High lefty Alika Aheong was in command through the next four frames, taking a 6-2 lead in into the bottom of the seventh.
But things started coming apart for him on the mound and David Sifton had to come in with the bases loaded and one out.Â Although the right-hander walked in a run, Sifton did preserve the victory by getting the final two outs of the game.
A two-run triple by Mike Diaz helped Maui High take a 4-2 lead in the third.Â The Sabers added two more in the fourth on a fielderâ€™s choice grounder and a throwing error on a pickoff play.
The Bears made it interesting, but ultimately came up short in the seventh.
BASEBALL:Â The University of Hawaii will try to regain is momentum as it opens a four-game series against Sacramento State tonight at Les Murakami Stadium.
More specifically, the UH pitching staff needs to get its stuff together after giving up 30 runs â€“ 35 total â€“ in 28.1 innings while dropping two of three games against Nevada in Reno.
As a result, coach Mike Trapasso has juggled his starting rotation.Â Former ace Jared Alexander is not scheduled to start this weekend after struggling in recent outings.Â In his last three starts, Alexander has allowed 14 runs and 20 hits in 20.2 innings.
On a more positive note, Kolten Wong has been on a tear.Â The freshman centerfielder from the Big Island was named WAC player of the week after going 12 for 18 with two homers, three doubles, 10 RBI and scoring seven runs during UHâ€™s recent four-game road trip.
UH is 20-12 overall and 4-3 in the WAC.Â Sac State is 20-14, including 1-3 in the conference.
MENâ€™S HOOPS:Â UH received national letters of intent from guards Dwain Williams and Jeremy Lay.Â The Bows still have two scholarships at their disposal for next season.
VOLLEYBALL:Â The menâ€™s volleyball team plays its final two matches of the season, hosting USC tonight and tomorrow as Mike Wiltonâ€™s 17-run as coach winds down.
SOFTBALL:Â The Rainbow Wahine are on the road, opening a three-game series at San Jose State.Â UH is led by freshman right-hander Stephanie Ricketts, who is 8-2 with a 1.36 ERA.