August 5, 2022 // By: Cole Cabrera
With all the hype surrounding the inaugural Perfect Game Prospect Invitational, it surely did not disappoint. 24 of Hawaii’s premier 2027 graduates stepped onto Les Murakami Stadium to compete on a beautiful Thursday night in Mānoa to showcase their skills in front of a plethora of friends, family, coaches, and scouts. Rosters were selected by Perfect Game and were split up to two teams of 12. Former all-conference base bows Cole Cabrera and Scotty Scott served as the coaches for the respective rosters, with Cabrera handling the red team and Scott coaching the blue.
The scoring started early, as the blue team jumped out to an early lead thanks in part to three straight base hits, including a two RBI double deep into the right center gap by Iolani’s Jadon Anzai. The game remained scoreless from then on, until the red team tallied a run in the top of the fourth inning. Naden Nihipali drew a two out walk, followed by another base on balls, and came around to score on a sharp base hit to center field by Kamehameha Schools Kupono Barkdall, cutting the deficit to 2. The blue team answered back fast, with Chase Thompson leading off the bottom half of the inning with a rocket to the right center gap and coming around to score later in the inning. Thompson finished the day with a solid three hits, really showcasing his ability to perform on a big stage.
The two teams exchanged blows in the 5th, with the red team clawing their way back in the game. Punahou’s Aaron Johnson drew a two-out walk, stole second, and scored on a ringing double off the left field wall from Iolani’s Kale Omori. The deficit was short lived as the blue team was able to tack on two more runs in the bottom half of the 5th.
The game was broken open in the bottom half of the 6th inning, starting with a leadoff single by Mana Shigehara-Pang. Next batter, shortstop Tyler Shindo snuck a double down the left field line that hit the chalk advancing Shigehara-Pang to third. Thompson then followed Shindo’s double with one of his own, smoking one down the right field line. Three errors and seven walks hurt the red team later in the bottom half, allowing a combined 10 runs to cross the plate to finish off the 6th.
The red team fought hard with sharp singles from Aka Lau Kong and Caleb Panui, both coming around to score in the top of the seventh. The game ended with a final score of 15-5, putting an end to the islands first Perfect Game Prospect Invitational.