Elijah Ickes, Koen Barton are the best baseball players in the state

June 4 – Elijah Ickes’ daily presence in the lineup helped end two long championship droughts in Kamehameha. Koen Barton’s season-long dominance on the mound helped Leilehua win their first state tournament games in nearly two decades.

Elijah Ickes’ daily presence in the lineup helped end two long championship droughts in Kamehameha.

Koen Barton’s season-long dominance on the mound helped Leilehua win their first state tournament games in nearly two decades.

A senior, Ickes is the Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State Position Player of the Year after hitting .500 (34-for-68) with 25 runs scored and 21 stolen bases to lead Kamehameha to its first ILH championship since 2006 and first state title since 2003.

Barton, a 6-foot-3 junior, is the Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State Pitcher of the Year after going 5-1 with one save and a 1.00 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings. He was at his best in the biggest moments, closing out the season with four straight complete-game victories, including a three-hit shutout of ‘Iolani in the state tournament to lead the Mules to their first win in the states since shutting out to Honokaa in the state tournament. First round in 2004.

“I was pretty excited about our season because we had a lot of leaders on the team and they all played a big part,” Barton said. “I’m very happy with how well we did and getting this award wouldn’t be possible without my team. It makes me feel really good about the work I’m doing and seeing that it’s paying off.”

While the Mules’ streak ended in the state quarterfinals against Baldwin, Kamehameha’s march to the championship began in the next game at Les Murakami Stadium.

Ickes, who hit .714 (5-for-7) with a double, three walks, two RBIs, three runs scored and a stolen base in the state tournament, was standing on first in the bottom of the seventh inning when All -State First-team teammate Jace Souza slotted a ball into the gap between center and right in the state final.

Once the ball was safely over the heads of the outfielders, Ickes took off immediately and enjoyed his best drive around the bases, culminating in the winning run to cap off his final season as state champion.

“That’s probably the best feeling you could ever have and for my whole life I’ll always remember that feeling,” said Ickes, who will play for Hawaii next season. “Especially doing it with that group of kids as well. I’ve played a lot with them over the years and I don’t think any other game we play can come close to feeling like that.”

Daryl Kitagawa, the Star-Advertiser All-State Coach of the Year after leading the Warriors to the state/ILH sweep, said Ickes’ jump from honorable mention to state player of the year was due to not having the best junior season he had. expected.

“I think he was a little mad at himself, to be honest, so he went to work,” Kitagawa said. “He took individual fielding lessons in the off-season and worked a lot on his own going into this season and I give a lot of credit to his family. He’s the first-come-first-go-last kind of leader who’s not everything a coach would want him to be.” did”.

Kitagawa, a Kamehameha alumnus, helped the Warriors win a state title as a senior in 1987 before playing at the college level at Hawaii Pacific and Long Beach State, where he helped the Dirtbags reach the College World Series in 1991.

Kamehameha won three baseball state titles in the 1980s, but has won just one since and has reached the state semifinals just twice since 2006 before this year.

“For me, for the actual cattle, whether we won or lost, it wouldn’t have changed anything because I know how hard it is to get there,” Kitagawa said. “It’s about the kids and creating a good atmosphere and environment and allowing the kids to thrive using the game of baseball. Winning was the icing on the cake and being able to do it with this special group of kids was very rewarding.” .”

Like Ickes, Barton is also described as a leader by example according to Leilehua coach Brandon Kon. His work ethic stands out in practice and a growth spurt between his sophomore and junior seasons helped him become a pitcher who can sit in his mid-80s and hit the upper 80s with his fastball when necessary. .

“He’s amazing, humble, with a great attitude, gives his best and always puts in a good effort during practice times and pays off during games,” Kon said. “He’s put in the work, made some strides with speed and worked with our pitching coach on a trade to make sure he has more than just a fastball and a curveball.”

Ickes was a unanimous choice for position player of the year among the coaches and the media who voted. Barton edged out Kamehameha sophomore Greyson Osbun and Saint Louis senior Jacob Villacorte, who also earned first-place votes, for pitcher of the year honors.

Oahu, Maui, and the island of Hawaii are represented on the all-state first team that includes kids from eight different schools. There were no repeat All-State first-team selections from last season.