WAILUKU - The Baldwin High School baseball team proved on Friday that wholesale changes can have a favorable outcome.
The top-seeded Bears sent eight consecutive pinch hitters to plate in a three-run fourth inning on the way to a 7-5, six-inning victory over Kailua in a fifth-place semifinal of the Wally Yonamine Foundation Division I State Championship at Maehara Stadium.
"That was the plan, to play everybody today, gain the state championship experience, get the subs in," said Baldwin coach Jon Viela. "They seemed hungry. They seemed like they wanted to play. They showed us what they're about."
The Bears (14-3) will play Maui High for fifth place today.
Baldwin took a 5-3 lead with its fourth-inning rally. Colten Keahi reached on an error, and eventually scored on a botched rundown when Patrick Turner was caught between first and second. The next five pinch hitters all singled, with Shadd Santos and Kawena Alo-Kaonohi collecting RBIs.
Baldwin added two runs in the fifth on an RBI triple by Nawai Ah Yen and a run-scoring single by Skyelor Ishikawa. Both were pinch hitters.
The Bears' Noah Apolo allowed nine hits in a complete game. Three of the runs against him were unearned.
"The off-speed was working, the changeup and the curveball were the best," Apolo said.
Apolo struck out five batters and walked one, induced a pair of double-play grounders and stranded seven runners - all in scoring position.
Royce Komesu and starting pitcher Kahaku Iaea were each 3-for-3 for Kailua (11-9) - which also substituted, but not nearly as liberally as Baldwin.
"I wanted to let the seniors have a chance to play just in case we ended up losing," said Surfriders coach Corey Ishigo.
"We still tried to win the game, but we didn't make some pitches when we needed to and we didn't hit enough."
* Kyle Sakamoto is at email@example.com
Kahaku Iaea, Matthew Hanano (4) and Royce Komesu. Noah Apolo and Mikioi Ching. W-Apolo. L-Iaea. 3B-Baldwin: Nawai Ah Yen. 2B-Kailua: Iaea. Baldwin: Joshua Nobriga.