Central East Maui defeats Arizona to advance to the Little League World Series
Central East Maui Little League coach Brad Lung said his team wasn’t prolific in hitting home runs. He wasn’t telling the truth, at least when it came to Saturday night’s Little League Western Regional Championship game.
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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. >> Central East Maui Little League coach Brad Lung said his team wasn’t prolific in hitting home runs.
He wasn’t telling the truth, at least when it came to Saturday night’s Little League Western Regional Championship game.
Jaren Pascual hit a three-run homer in the third inning and winning pitcher Logan Kuloloia led off the sixth inning with a solo shot. The power display lifted Central East Maui to a 4-1 victory over Sunnyside Little League of Tucson, Ariz.
Central East Maui is the second consecutive Hawaii team to represent the Western Region in Williamsport, Pa. The Honolulu Little League won the region and the Little League World Series in 2018.
Central East Maui defeated the Honolulu Little League in this year’s state tournament. The Wailuku team is also the first team from Maui to get to the Little League World Series.
“This feels great,” said Pascual. “It is pretty fantastic.”
Lung also carried the theme of Maui pride.
“This is a humbling experience,” said Lung, who is employed as a heavy equipment operator. “Maui baseball is on the rise. Most people don’t realize how big baseball is in Hawaii.”
In addition to the home runs, Central East Maui got an outstanding effort from Kuloloia, a left-handed pitcher. Kuloloia struck out five batters while not allowing a walk in his complete-game, 71-pitch performance.
Juan Hernandez hit a triple in the bottom of the first and scored on Damian Lorta’s single. The only other flaw was when Kuloloia hit two batters with pitches in the third inning. After that blip, he retired the final 10 batters.
“Logan is the Sandman,” Lung said, referring to retired Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, the first player to be unanimously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. “What he did tonight is the reason we call him that.”
Kuloloia’s teammates backed him with solid defense. They made only one error and several outstanding plays. Notable was shortstop Bransyn Hong going far to his right to snare a line drive in the fourth inning.
Pascual hit a three-run home run over the left-field fence to erase a 1-0 Sunnyside lead. The blast drove catcher Duke Aloy and second baseman Isaac Imamura across the plate.
“I was looking to make solid contact and put the ball in play,” said Pascual, who was the starting pitcher against Maidu, the Northern California representative, on Thursday evening. He also had three hits and four RBIs in the 13-3 victory.
Central East Maui finished the tournament without suffering a defeat. The 10- to 12-year-olds defeated Sunnyside on Monday in an eight-inning tiebreaker victory. Maui scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth after Sunnyside scored one in the top of the eighth.
In that game, Central East Maui got a couple of breaks, including a replay reversal in an inning where Maui scored four runs. Last night, Central Maui clearly played better against a Sunnyside team that was strong and had an excellent tournament.
KRU 06 falls to Mexico in World Series final
KRU 06 Baseball lost to Mexico 4-1 in the world final of the Major/70 Cal Ripken World Series on Saturday in Branson, Mo.
KRU 06 Baseball tied it in the fifth on Noah Bernal’s RBI single, which scored Jayden Montero.
Mexico homered twice in the sixth to retake the lead.
KRU 06 Baseball finished the tournament with a 6-2 record.
KRU 06 Baseball’s Moe Passi was named the tournament most outstanding player, and Bernal and Montero also made the all-tournament team.
Hawaii Kai Red Sox lose, are 1-2 in pool play
The Hawaii Kai Red Sox lost to Pittsfield (Mass.) 3-2 at the 13U Babe Ruth World Series on Saturday in Westfield, Mass.
Caleb Kim batted 3-for-3 with a double for Hawaii Kai, which fell to 1-2 and will complete pool play today against Spokane (Wash.).