BeachBoys Win HWB Title
HONOLULU—The Waikiki BeachBoys' momentum from their division-clinching win the night before carried over to their Hawaii Winter Baseball championship win against the West Oahu CaneFires, 5-1, on a sunny Nov. 16 at Les Murakami Stadium on the University of Hawaii campus.
The BeachBoys (20-17) clinched the HWB East title Nov. 15 after a two-out, two-run home run by Marquez Smith (Cubs) in the top of the ninth and then sweated out the bottom of the ninth when Jeremy Papelbon (Cubs) pitched into and out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam to notch his league-leading seventh save in a 5-4 win against the Honolulu Sharks.
Waikiki sealed the title behind the collaborative effort of starter Mitsuo Yoshikawa (Nippon Ham Fighters) and reliever Steven Richard (Mariners). They combined on a five-hitter with Yoshikawa giving up a run, four hits and two walks with six strikeouts in five innings and Richard giving up a hit in four scoreless innings of relief for his first save of the season to fend off the West champion CaneFires (19-15), who clinched their division title earlier in the week.
"Yosh has been great all year," Buster Posey (Giants) said of his batterymate. "He's a competitor. Even if he gets in a jam, he can get out of it."
And he was equally pleased with Richard.
"He did exactly what you want to do out of the bullpen," Posey said. "He came in, pounded the zone and kept pounding them. That's what you want to do with a four-run lead."
Posey then aided the pitchers' effort with his first home run of HWB, an opposite-field, three-run shot to right in the top of the seventh, that cushioned Waikiki's early 2-1 lead.
"Marquez Smith's big two-run homer kept the momentum going into today and Buster Posey's three-run home run kind of broke it open for us," Waikiki manager Juan Bustabad said. "It's a great team effort and we fought hard and we came out on top."
It was the BeachBoys' first title in their third season in the eight-year-old league.
"They hit in the clutch situations and did what they needed to do," CaneFires' manager Mike Guerrero said.
CaneFires' starter Cody Scarpetta (Brewers) was tagged with the loss, allowing two runs, four hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings. After Chris Cody (Brewers) settled the game with 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, Fumikazu Kimura (Seibu Lions) was roughed up in the seventh, allowing a one out double to Smith, a two out walk to James McOwen and Posey's three-run shot on a 1-0 fastball.
"I hit it pretty well, so I thought it had a chance," Posey said of when he made contact."
It was a nice send off for the highly-touted Posey, the fifth overall pick in the June draft. It was his first homer since his only home run during the regular season at the rookie Arizona League.
The CaneFires took a 1-0 lead in the second. James Skelton (Tigers) walked with one out and took second on a single by Tyler Henson (Orioles). Greg Burns (Marlins) grounded to second for a force at second to put runners at the corners to set up Brian Friday's RBI single to center.
But the BeachBoys wasted little time coming back. In the top of the third, Tony Thomas Jr. (Cubs) singled with one out, stole second and scored on a single to center by James McOwen (Mariners) to tie the game at 1. Posey and Yonder Alonso (Reds) walked to load the bases and chase Scarpetta in the process.
The left-handed Chris Cody (Brewers) got the left-handed hitting Roger Kieschnick (Giants) to ground to first for an RBI force out at second to give the BeachBoys a 2-1 lead before Todd Frazier (Reds) struck out to end the inning.
It wasn't until the top of the seventh when the BeachBoys secured their narrow lead.
Kimura gave up a one out double to Smith before striking out Thomas. But after walking McOwen on four pitches, Kimura served up Posey's three-run homer that made it 5-1.
For winning, members of the winning team each received a watch that read "2008 HWB Champions" and a HWB duffel bag. Losing team members just got the duffel bag.
"It's something we can enjoy when we go home," Waikiki shortstop Todd Frazier (Reds) said of the prizes.