Central Maui reaches final day
MAKAWAO – One down, two to go.
Central Maui advanced to the final day of the Hawaii State Little League Senior Division (15-16) tournament with an 11-1, six-inning win over Aiea on Monday at Eddie Tam Field.
Now, the host team needs two wins today against unbeaten Pearl City – a 3-1 winner over Central Maui on Sunday – to advance to the West Regional in Ontario, Calif., July 30 to Aug.
Central Maui needed only seven hits to claim the mercy-rule win Monday as it took advantage of five errors and nine walks by Aiea. Central Maui got four hits and all three of its doubles in a four-run sixth.
More timely hitting will be needed today, according to Central Maui manager Tyson Higa. Central Maui left the bases loaded in three of the first five innings Monday.
“We finally broke out the bats, but we are still not hitting up to our potential right now,” Higa said. “That has to change, it’s do or die tomorrow.”
Higa will have every pitcher available today against Pearl City except Sunday starter Joshua Nobriga. The final will start at 10 a.m. and the “if necessary” final would start at 1 p.m.
T.J. Kanamu, Maile Santos and Haloa Dudoit all pitched two innings and stayed within the 30-pitch limit Monday to be eligible for today – Santos and Dudoit each threw 30 pitches.
Noah Apolo, the winner Saturday against Kaneohe, can throw the 95-pitch maximum.
“We will see who will start the first game, but Noah will start one of them,” Higa said.
Apolo said he will be ready to take the ball whenever it is handed to him.
“We’re ready,” he said. “We just have to come out tomorrow, try our best and leave it all on the field. I’m rested, my arm is good, I feel ready to pitch. Doesn’t matter which game, I can’t choose, it is up to the coaches.”
Central Maui tied the game in the bottom of the first on Apolo’s RBI groundout.
The hosts took the lead in the second when pinch runner Cody Furomoto scored on a wild pitch.
Central Maui made it 4-1 in the third on a run-scoring error and an RBI single by Shadd Santos.
Central Maui boosted the lead to 7-1 in the fourth without a hit. Aiea committed three errors and issued four walks, including two with the bases loaded to Colby Tam and Micah Richardson.
In the Central Maui sixth, Javin Legsay and Mikey Hooper had RBI doubles and Rylie Velez ended it with a two-run double to the wall in right.
“Tough team, deep team, very disciplined team, very well-coached team,” Aiea manager Derek Takahashi said of Central Maui. “We got beat by a good team today. I saw yesterday’s (Pearl City-Central Maui) game and it is going to be the same, good solid baseball by two good teams.”
Tam finished 2-for-2 with two runs and an RBI and was the only Central Maui hitter with more than one hit.
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gavin Watabayashi, Reyn Oumaye (3), Dez Oki-Takahashi (5), David Fujimoto (6) and Oki-Takahashi, Hunter Yara (4); T.J. Kanamu, Maile Santiago (3), Haloa Dudoit (5) and Colby Tam. W-Santiago. L-Watabayashi. 2B-Central Maui: Javin Legsay, Mikey Hooper, Rylie Velez.