Central Maui comes up short
MAKAWAO – The road to a state crown got a little longer for the Central Maui All-Stars in the Hawaii State Little League Senior Tournament at Eddie Tam Field on Sunday.
Central Maui lost 3-1 to Pearl City in a battle of unbeatens in the double-elimination event.
Pearl City managed nine hits against Joshua Nobriga and Linden Kanamu, while Central Maui had seven hits and left a total of five runners on base in the fifth and sixth innings of the seven-inning contest.
Central Maui manager Tyson Higa is confident his team can rebound -it needs three wins in two days to advance to the Western Regional in Ontario, Calif., July 30 to Aug. 6.
“Pearl City is a very tough team,” Higa said. “They put the ball in play, they come up with the clutch hit, they made the defensive plays when they had to – hats off to them.”
The result thrust Central Maui into an elimination game today at 1 p.m. against Aiea, a 4-2 winner over Kaneohe in Sunday’s first game.
The winner of today’s game must then beat Pearl City twice on Tuesday to advance.
T.J. Kanamu, a second-team Division I Maui Interscholastic League All-Star for Kamehameha Schools Maui, will start on the mound for Central Maui today.
MIL D-I Player of the Year Noah Apolo of Baldwin is set for the first game on Tuesday, if Central Maui gets there.
“We have got Micah Richardson, we have got Mikey Hooper, we have got Lane Kashiwamura, Shadd Santos – we have a lot of arms left,” Higa said.
Pearl City scored twice in the top of the second, highlighted by an RBI double by Brandon Henderson.
The visitors added another run in the top of the fifth when Sanyo Lo smacked an RBI single to center.
In the bottom of the fifth, Central Maui loaded the bases on a walk to Haloa Dudoit and back-to-back singles by Skylor Ishikawa and Kashiwamura.
Pearl City reliever Henderson, on after an impressive start by Trestan Nakamura, got popouts from T.J. Kanamu and Santos before walking Apolo to force in a run.
Henderson then struck out Colby Tam looking to end the threat.
“That was a killer right there,” Higa said. “Full base, no outs, to get out of there with only one run, that was huge.”
In the Central Maui sixth, Rylie Velez singled to lead off and Ishikawa put runners on first and third with a single two outs later.
Henderson got out of the jam by striking out Kashiwamura and Central Maui went 1-2-3 in the seventh.
“We have the team to still win it all,” Higa said. “But Pearl City, two pitchers kept us off-balance.”
Pearl City manager Alex Takemura was impressed with both teams, who played errorless baseball.
Lo and Colby Hirano each had a pair of hits for Pearl City, while Velez and Ishikawa were both 2-for-3 for Central Maui.
“They are a very respectable team, they play class ball throughout the entire game, they represent Maui at its best,” Takemura said. “It’s a great win for the boys, they played, like you said, an exceptional game. Both teams played great baseball. It was a great game for the fans today.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Trestan Nakamura, Brandon Henderson (5) and Shaye Higa; Joshua Nobriga, Linden Kanamu (5) and Lane Kashiwamura. 2B-Pearl City: Henderson.