comscore Hawaii beats Virginia in Little League World Series, advances to U.S. final | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Hawaii beats Virginia in Little League World Series, advances to U.S. final

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    South Riding, Virginia’s Chase Obstgarten, left, is tagged out attempting to steal home by Wailuku, Hawaii’s Duke Aloy, center, with umpire Matthew Bingaman moving into position to make the call, during the third inning of an baseball game at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa., today. Hawaii won 12-9.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Wailuku, Hawaii’s Shiloh Gilliland (13) celebrates on second base near South Riding, Va.’s Chase Obstgarten (17) after driving in two runs with a double off pitcher Liam Thyen during the first inning of a baseball game at the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., today.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    South Riding, Virginia’s Colton Hicks (9) drives in a run with a triple off Wailuku, Hawaii’s Kaedyn Miyake-Matsubayashi (6) during the first inning of an baseball game at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa., today.

Central East Maui moved into Saturday’s U.S. championship game of the Little League World Series by beating South Riding, Va., 12-9 today in Williamsport, Pa.

Maui will play the winner of Thursday’s game between Virginia and Louisiana for the right to meet in Sunday’s final of the Little League World Series. Japan advanced to the final on the International side of the bracket. The Japanese kids will play the winner of Thursday’s South Korea-Curacao matchup on Saturday as well.

First pitch for the United States game will be at 9:30 a.m HST.

Despite blowing a six-run lead, reliever Bransyn Hong came in to stop the bleeding with two outs in the third. He went the rest of the way giving up one run on one hit in 3 1/3 innings of relief. There were a total of 21 runs scored on 21 hits with nine errors and 290 pitches thrown in the marathon affair.

For the third straight game, the Maui kids struck early and often thanks in part to some suspect pitching by starter Justin Lee and reliever Liam Thyen, who gave up a combined five runs on two hits, uncorked three wild pitches, hit two batters and walked another two in the first inning.

>> Click here for more photos of the game between Hawaii and Virginia.

Maui got things started on a fielder’s choice to Bransyn Hong, who went to second after Jaren Pascual was hit by a pitch. Hong scored on a single to right by Nakea Kahalehau. It was the first hit given up by Virginia in the World Series and it did some damage, scoring Hong easily from second. The throw from right-fielder Michael Bowden to get Hong was high, allowing Kahalehau to go into second and Pascual to score to give Wailuku a 2-0 lead.

It kept building from there as Logan Kuloloia drew a one-out walk as he and Kahalehau moved up one bag on a wild pitch by Lee. And then another wild pitch scored Kahalehau and allowed Kuloloia to take third. Meanwhile, Kaleb Mathias got hit by a pitch to put men at first and third for pinch hitter Shiloh Gilliland. All he did was clear the bases with a double to right-center to give Maui a 5-0 advantage.

Virginia came back with two runs in the bottom of the first on an RBI-triple by Colton Hicks, scoring Lee. He reached first on a fielder’s choice. Hicks scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-2 after one. Maui added a single run in the second on an infield hit by Nicholas Nashiwa. He was originally called out at first, but the review showed he beat the throw. The two-out hit scored Isaac Imamura from third. He opened the inning by drawing a walk.

Virginia had a mild threat in the bottom half of the second. After the first two batters went down, the next three got on base, sending Brady Yates to the plate with the sacks full. He looked at a called third strike on a beautiful backdoor curve to keep the score at 6-2 after two. Maui plated two more runs on a wild pitch by reliever Chase Obstgarten with the bases loaded that scored Marley Sebastian.

Lee, who was now the catcher, compounded things making a bad throw at the plate trying to get Sebastian. That allowed Nashiwa to come around to score from second as Maui now led 8-2 heading into the bottom of the third. But back came Virginia with six runs of its own as 12 batters went to the plate against starting pitcher Kaedyn Miyake-Matsubayashi and the dam opened up as Virginia showed why it was unbeaten coming into this critical game.

Nashiwa struggled as a reliever before Hong came in to get the final out with the score tied at 8-8. Miyake-Matsubayashi went 2 1/3 innings, giving up six runs on five hits, four earned. He struck out three and walked one. Nashiwa got only one out giving up two runs on two hits. He walked one and struck out two.

So, now it was Maui’s turn in the top of the fourth against Brady Yates, the fourth Virginia pitcher. And once again the local boys did some damage, scoring a run on an RBI-single to left by Gilliland to make it 9-8. The clutch hit scored Kahalehau from third after he opened the fourth with a double to left.

Maui kept up the pressure by getting the first two batters on in the fifth holding that one-run lead. Imamura yanked a single to left and then went to second on a walk to Hong. Both runners came in to score on a double by Pascual that extended Maui’s lead to 11-8. It went to 12-8 on an error at short on a routine grounder by Kuloloia.

Virginia came right back getting its first two batters on in the fifth. But Hong got Obstgarten to line out to second, Yates to pop out to short before Lee walked to load the bases. Up stepped Hicks, who hit into a fielder’s choice to end Virginia’s last threat.

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