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Central East Maui wins county title over Molokai

Central East Maui's Kamole Gilliland pitched a one-hitter on Tuesday to pick up the win. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

MAKAWAO — Kamole Gilliland knew he had a job to do on Tuesday at Eddie Tam Field. He came out and took care of business impressively.

The Central East Maui Little League team rode a one-hit gem on the mound by Gilliland to a 16-1, four-inning win over Molokai in the Maui County Little League Majors (11-12) Division championship game.

Gilliland struck out five and walked two.

Molokai did not get a base runner until Kaelen Poepoe-Johnson walked with one out in the fourth inning. Cobra Cariaga-Abafo’s grounder was mishandled for an error and Mascen Habon then drove in the Molokai run with a deep single to right field.

After another walk, Gilliland struck out Elisha Horner to end the game.

Central East Maui’s Bransyn Hong smacks a two-run single in the third inning. Hong was 4-for-4 with four RBIs and two doubles.

“Really, I just wanted to let my defense work, I trust them a lot, all my friends,” Gilliland said. “I wanted to throw strikes, wanted to strike them out, but I knew that family’s first. They’re like my new family now.”

Gilliland, 12, said he is excited for the state tournament on the Big Island, set for July 19-24.

“It feels great, I think we have a big chance,” Gilliland said.

Gilliland did not know he had a perfect game going in the final inning.

“I wasn’t aware of it,” he said. “I didn’t really pay attention to that.”

Central East Maui’s Kamaha‘o Akima scores a third-inning run in front of Molokai catcher Cobra Cariaga-Abafo.

Central broke on top with a single run in the top of the first inning on a run-scoring single by Jaren Pascual.

Central East Maui pushed the lead to 6-0 in the second on an RBI single by Nakea Kahalehau, a two-run single by Bransyn Hong, followed by run-scoring singles by Kaleb Mathias and Kaedyn Miyake-Matsubayashi.

Hong’s bases-loaded single in the third increased the lead to 8-0 and Pascual followed with an RBI single to make it 9-0. Nicholas Nashiwa drove in the 10th run with a sacrifice fly and Logan Kuloloia followed with a two-run double to make it 12-0.

Hong led Central’s 14-hit attack with a 4-for-4 day that included two doubles, four RBIs, and four runs.

Kamahao Akima knocked in the 13th run in the fourth with a single and Gilliland’s three-run double pushed the lead to 16-0.

Molokai shortstop Miken Loo tries to turn a second-inning double play after forcing out Marley Sebastian.

The field that the game was played on is named after Lee Amoral, who is the late grandfather of Central head coach Brad Lung.

“It was a good game, Molokai showed up, but the boys played hard, so proud of my bunch,” Lung said. “Kamole pitched well, his coaches did a good job with him. We’re honored to have him on our team.”

Molokai coach Danny Reyes said Central is a juggernaut.

“They’re tough, very well-coached and talented kids,” Reyes said. “Kamole changes his speeds well, he mixes his pitches well, he’s got a great defense behind him, so he was tough.”

Reyes said several of the players on the field Tuesday are only a couple years away from playing in the Maui Interscholastic League.

“Yup, these guys are all going to represent in two, three years, for sure,” Reyes said.

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

Central East Maui 156 4–16 14 x

Molokai 000 1– 1 1 x

Shiloh Gilliland and Duke Aloy. Tyzhen Yamamoto, Nakoa Orlando (3), Miken Loo (3), Kaelen Poepoe-Johnson (4) and Cobra Cariaga-Abafo.

Leading hittters-Central East Maui: Bransyn Hong 4-4, 4 runs, 4 RBIs, 2 doubles; Jaren Pascual 2-3, 2 runs, RBI; Kamahao Akima 2-2, 3 runs, RBI; Kaleb Mathias 2-2, run, RBI