Kihei sent to Junior elimination bracket
WAILUKU — Kihei manager Joe Koch told his players that they would be facing “the best team in the tournament” in their Hawaii State Little League Junior (13-14) Division tournament opener Saturday at Maehara Stadium.
Ewa Beach lived up that billing, jumping on top early on the way to a 7-1 win.
“I just got done telling the kids they shot themselves in the foot against the best team in the tournament so far,” Koch said after his team committed four errors and had two runners thrown out at the plate. “A team we could have played with, we just didn’t show up today.”
Ewa, the District VII champion, scored twice in each of the first three innings.
Ewa will play today against Kaneohe, the District I champion, with the winner advancing to Tuesday’s championship game. Kihei will play an elimination game today against Aiea, and would then have to win again Monday to reach the final day.
Ewa’s Caleb Lomavita led off Saturday’s game by smacking a triple to right field and scored two pitches later on a single by Zachary Takahama, who eventually came home on an error.
In the top of the second, Sean Bentosino doubled to lead off and scored on an error. Lomavita had an RBI double four batters later. In the third, Bentosino’s squeeze bunt knocked in two runs.
Lomavita finished a home run short of the cycle with a 3-for-4 day that included a run and RBI. Bentosino was 2-for-2 with two runs and two RBIs and pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits with two strikeouts and a walk.
“That’s all we talk about, taking one game at a time and to stay on top,” said Ewa manager Todd Takahama. “Kihei, they are a very good baseball team. As far as knowing what they could do, we had no idea.
“I just told my team: ‘Take it one game at a time, one pitch at a time, one at-bat at a time and we work from there.’ “
A sixth-inning double by Kolu Archer accounted for Kihei’s lone run. Wyland Blair was 2-for-3.
Kihei had runners thrown out at the plate in the third and fifth innings and another thrown out at third base in the sixth.
“We’ve got a very talented team and some good ballplayers,” Koch said. “Again, baseball is a beautiful sport, you get to shake it off. Every at-bat is a new beginning. After every pitch it’s a new beginning. We’re going to shake it off. I think we have what it takes to still make it until Tuesday.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
EWA BEACH 7, KIHEI 1
Ewa Beach 222 001 0–7 10 1
Kihei 000 001 0–1 7 5
Sean Bentosino, Reef Rentiquiano (6), Dayton Robinson (7) and Caleb Lomavita. Wyland Blair, Kymani Corpuz (3), Kobe Galinato (4), Gregory Weiss (5) and Joey Koch, Blair (3). W–Bentosino. L–Blair. 3B–Ewa Beach: Lomavita. 2B–Ewa Beach: Lomavita, Bentosino 2. Kihei: Kolu Archer, Galinato.
Leading hitters–Ewa Beach: Lomavita 3-4, run, RBI; Bentosino 2-2, 2 runs, 2 RBIs. Kihei: Blair 2-3.
AIEA 10, WEST HAWAII 5
Aiea 003 004 3–10 9 3
West Side Hawaii 005 000 0–5 6 3
Jordan Cezar, Michael Kawasaki (5), Jacob Agcaoili (7) and Gavin Buchanan. Keyshawn Lorenzo, Keenan Toriano 6), Elliot Veisauyadra (7), Kobe Leong (7) and Kayden Alcoran. W–Kawasaki. L–Lorenzo. 2B–Aiea: Cezar. West Side Hawaii: Felix Guerpo.
Leading hitters–Aiea: Kawasaki 4-5, 2 RBI, 2 runs; Cezar 1-3, RBI, run. West Hawaii: Alcoran 2-4; Guerpo 1-1, 2 RBI.