Central East Maui wins county title over Molokai
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.
“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 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.
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 email@example.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