MPI dumps Punahou in battle of ILH unbeatens
Mar 25, 2012 (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Dunn Muramaru rarely uses nicknames or superlatives when it comes to his Mid-Pacific baseball players.
But in the longtime coach's eyes, Travis Garcia-Perreira is simply "the bulldog."
The senior went the distance, throwing 114 pitches while striking out six as No. 1 Mid-Pacific rallied past No. 2 Punahou 6-4 Saturday night at Hans L'Orange Park.
"He's a bulldog. He makes great pitches and he battles back. You don't usually see that from high school pitchers," MPI coach Dunn Muramaru said. "He struggled because Punahou has such good hitters, but he battled and battled."
A near-capacity crowd saw MPI improve to 7-0 in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, gaining a valuable half-step ahead of Punahou (7-1).
"It's a big win. In this ILH season, anything can happen, so this puts us in the driver's seat right now and we have to get better each and every day," Garcia-Perreira said.
With a revamped schedule due to recent rainouts, there will be no postseason playoff tourney, meaning the two automatic state-tourney berths will be determined by regular-season records.
Garcia-Perreira, a southpaw, helped his cause with an RBI and overcame Punahou's relentless threats. His wild pitch gave the Buffanblu runners at second and third with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, but he induced Nikolas Takayesu into a groundout to end the inning.
Punahou's K.J. Harrison socked a one-out double in the bottom of the seventh, but Garcia-Perreira retired Zach Muenster and Nate Higa to end the game.
"I feel good. It's a great team win today," Garcia-Perreira said. "It's trying to get game chemistry with my catcher (Marcus Doi). The fastball was working for me, so I kept going with it. I was being crafty with the breaking pitch. Coach Dunn always preaches, 'Make sure you always get outs.' "
Isaiah Kiner-Falefa smacked two singles and scored two runs to spark the Owls attack.
"He backed up last year and stepped right in this year. He works really hard," Muramaru said. "Whatever he does is because of his work habits."
The Owls jumped on Muenster in the top of the first for two runs on just one base hit. Nikolas Alarcio was hit by the second pitch -- after seeing the first pitch sail behind him -- and later came in to score on Garcia-Perreira's sacrifice fly to left. Kiner-Falefa, who reached base on an infield single, scored from third on a delayed steal moments before Daniel Fentriss was tagged out off first base.
Muenster found his control, retiring the side in order in the second and third innings, but ran into another jam in the fourth. MPI put runners on second and third with the help of a throwing error by Punahou third baseman Nate Higa, but Muenster struck out Fentriss, Dylan Oda and Skyler Tengan to end the threat.
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