Molokai’s baseball team had a chance to see how it matches up against Oahu competition at the first-ever Molokai High School Preseason Invitational Baseball Tournament.
In past seasons, Molokai has traveled to Maui or Oahu for preseason tournaments. This year, two teams from Oahu — Damien High School and Kaimuki High School — made the trip here for a three-day round robin tournament from Thursday to Saturday.
If tournament results are any indication, it should be a strong season for the Farmers, who finished with a 3-0-1 record.
In the championship game of the tournament on Saturday, Molokai beat Damien 5-1 behind the solid pitching of sophomore Lee-Lan Meyer and the big hits of junior David Rapanot.
The final game of the tournament was scoreless until the third inning. With two runners on base, Rapanot smacked a line drive double through the middle to drive in two runs. It proved to be the winning hit of the game as Damien never really threatened.
Rapanot also showed off his arm. In the fourth inning, a Damien hitter bounced his hit over the head of the left fielder. The ball rolled to the fence and Rapanot ran to the outfield from his shortstop position to take the relay throw. In one motion, Rapanot turned and fired a strike to third base where Ena Victorino put on the tag for the third out.
Rapanot put an exclamation point on his performance in the fifth inning when he took a pitch high in the strike zone and sent it over the centerfield fence for a two-run home run. Brayden Willing-McCutcheon drove in another run with a single in the sixth inning to make the game 5-0.
In their last at bat, Damien scored a run after Rapanot came in for Meyer to pitch in the seventh and final inning. Rapanot gave up two singles to start the inning, one of which came home on a fielder’s choice.
Both Damien and Molokai had no trouble handling the smaller roster from Kaimuki. The tournament opened on Thursday with Damien blowing out Kaimuki 17-1. Molokai followed the same day with a 10-5 win over Kaimuki.
On Friday, Damien beat Kaimuki again, 14-7. In the late game, Molokai tied Damien 10-10 to set up the championship game.
After Molokai beat Kaimuki 21-4 in the early game on Saturday, the Farmers played Damien for the championship.
With only one senior on the team, Kwaylen Kalawe, the future looks strong for the Molokai baseball team.