August 2nd by Kira Jones
Photo by Stacy Kaneshiro
WAIPAHU, Hawaii—The Oahu Paddlers stayed calm under pressure using a three-run ninth inning to defeat the Hawaii Aliis 9-8 in a must-win game on Tuesday afternoon. The win means they will face the Kamuela Paniolos at 2 p.m.
Designated hitter Robert Migliazza (JR, Central Connecticut State) put the Aliis on the board first with a two-run single to center in the top of the third. The Allis scored two more runs that inning on an RBI single from third baseman Michael Warren (SO, University of Texas at San Antonio) and a wild pitch.
The Aliis weren’t done after their big third inning, putting up three more runs in the fourth. First baseman Jonathan James (JR, University of Hawaii at Hilo) and center fielder Blake Hugaert (SO, Orange Coast College) got the inning started with back-to-back singles to center. They then came around to score on RBI singles from left fielder Matthew Marnati (JR, California Baptist) and shortstop Jeff Flax (SR, La Salle University). Marnati then scored on Migliazza’s groundout to third to give the Aliis a commanding 7-0 lead after four.
The Paddlers finally began to chip away at the Aliis’ lead putting up a four-spot in the sixth. Center fielder Brett Tiagwad (SR, St. Joseph’s University) led off the inning with a triple to right. Designated hitter Tyler Nordgren (SO, Point Loma Nazarene University) knocked Tiagwad home with an RBI single to center. Left fielder Forrest Brandt (SO, Davidson College) picked up a pair of RBIs with a two-run single to center leaving the Paddlers down 7-4 at the end of the sixth.
The Aliis took an 8-4 lead when Marnati singled home catcher Royce Murai (SO, Long Beach State) in the eighth. The Paddlers answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single from catcher Ben Vasko (SR, San Diego State) and a sac fly from third baseman Chris Piwinski (JR, Yale).
Justin Weeks (JR, Whitman College) tossed a perfect ninth to leave the Paddlers down by two heading into the bottom of the ninth. The leadoff batter Pete Castoldi (JR, Northeastern University) reached on an error. Nordgren then doubled to center to put runners on second and third for second baseman Ka’iana Eldredge (SO, University of Kansas) who sent Castoldi home with an RBI groundout to short. Shortstop Jimmy Filter (SR, Northeastern University) knocked an RBI double to left to tie the game at 8-8. The Aliis intentionally walked the next batter, Brandt, to put runners on first and second. The next batter flew out to left leaving the Paddlers one out away from heading to extras. Piwinski singled to short to load the bases for Vasko. Vasko was in a 1-2 hole when he was hit by a pitch sending the winning run home and keeping the Paddlers alive in the playoffs.