WAILUKU - Noah Apolo has had rougher outings in his Maui Interscholastic League career.
The senior left-hander for Baldwin High School pitched four solid innings - after being staked to an eight-run lead before even taking the mound - to lead the defending champion Bears to a 12-1, five-inning win over Lahainaluna in the league baseball opener Thursday at Maehara Stadium.
"I felt like my team backed me up," Apolo said. "All I had to do was pitch and they had my back. This is league play now, leave it all out on the field."
Baldwin High School’s Noah Apolo pitches during the first inning of the Bears’ 12-1, five-inning victory over Lahainaluna on Thursday at Maehara Stadium.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
The reigning MIL Division I Player of the Year allowed two hits, struck out two batters and walked one.
Fellow senior Joshua Nobriga, who will take the mound today in the second game of the three-game series, had two hits and two RBIs in the first inning and finished the day 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
"I can't remember," Nobriga said of the last time he had two hits in a single inning. "It felt good."
Baldwin 12, Lahainaluna 1, 5 innings
King Kekaulike 12, Kamehameha Maui 5
Kamehameha Maui vs. King Kekaulike at Maehara Stadium, 3:30 p.m.
Molokai at Lanai, 3:30 p.m.
Baldwin vs. Lahainaluna at Maehara Stadium, 6 p.m.
The Bears burst into the lead in the top of the first inning with eight runs on four hits, four walks - two with the bases loaded - and a pair of errors.
The Lunas got a run back in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI single by Bronson Kaina.
In the fifth, the Bears upped the lead to the 10-run mercy-rule threshold on an RBI single by Nobriga and a two-run single by Makana Victorine. Linden Kanamu's RBI bloop single to right field accounted for the final run.
Baldwin's Michael Hooper pitched the fifth inning, allowing one walk.
"It's tough to overcome anything other than a two-spot in the first inning," said Lahaina-luna coach Blaine Bernades.
The Lunas' most effective pitchers in preseason play were Kaimana Ancog, who played center field on Thursday, and Akoni Hamilton-Golis, who played third base. Ryan Delatori went the first four innings and was charged with the loss.
"Our goal as a coaching staff is to put our best nine out there," Bernades said. "Our best nine defensively is with Akoni at third and Kaimana roaming in the outfield. I think Kaimana is probably the best center fielder in the league."
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Noah Apolo, Michael Hooper (5) and Makana Victorine, Kawena Alo-Kaonohi; Ryan Delatori, Kepa Hamlin (5) and Jacob Mahon. W-Apolo (1-0). L-Delatori (0-1).