SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. » Bring on Ocean View.
Waipio pulled out its whuppin’ sticks last night, bashing five home runs — including four in the first inning — and romping into the Little League West Regional final with a 12-2, four-inning win over North Scottsdale, Ariz., in front of about 4,000 fans at Al Houghton Stadium and a national TV audience.
The win set up a rematch with Ocean View, the Southern California champion from Huntington Beach, tomorrow for a berth in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. Ocean View held on to beat Waipio 2-1 on the tournament’s opening night, Aug. 6. Since then, Waipio is 4-0.
The final starts at 2 p.m. Hawaii time. It will be televised on ESPN2.
The semifinal against North Scottsdale was a rematch of two days earlier, when Waipio won 7-0 to clinch first place in pool play.
"We looked really good," Waipio manager Brian Yoshii said. "But Sunday is going to be much tougher with the level of pitching we’re going to face. We have to keep the boys focused."
It was a bountiful start for Waipio, which turned the basepaths into a virtual merry-go-round.
Kaho’ea Akau led off the first with a home run to center field. Ty DeSa homered to right field. Shiloh Baniaga walked. Ezra Heleski homered to right field. Tyler Kushima doubled to right field, ending North Scottsdale starting pitcher Andrew Stachel’s night at 15 pitches.
"When they hit like that, they’re an extremely hard team to beat," North Scottsdale manager Joe Forster said.
Teo Fritzke relieved and Noah Shackles greeted him with a home run to center field to make it 6-0.
The North Scottsdale offense wasn’t productive again against Waipio right-hander Dane Kaneshiro, who mixed his pitches perfectly, allowing two hits, walking one and striking out seven.
"It was a little different pitching with the cameras," Kaneshiro said. "But it feels good (to make the final). We want to get them back."
North Scottsdale scored its two runs in the fourth on a double by Dylan Cole and a home run to left field by Matthew Eveleth.
But Waipio ended the game in the fourth when Kaimana Bartolome belted a two-run home run, Kaneshiro had an RBI infield hit and Akau was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to end it.