KAILUA-KONA — The train that was the West Side All-Stars rolled right through the Little League District 4 Major Division tournament this week and barely slowed down as the squad emphatically punched its ticket to the state tournament.
West Side was untouchable over the five-day event, winning its two games against North Hawaii by a combined score of 20-0.
The team clinched the title with a 6-0 victory over North Hawaii at Old Kona Airport Park on Monday afternoon.
“Like I told them at the beginning of this tournament, we are all in one boat. Let’s see where it takes us,” manager Ben Lorenzo said. “Hopefully we can do well at states and keep moving on. Just playing there is going to be a dream for a lot of these kids, so we are excited.”
North Hawaii got in their share of baseball and played their hearts out, competing in four games over the weekend, going 2-2. However, the team was unable to solve the West Side pitching. In the first game, Kingston Lee tossed the majority of a 14-0 shutout. In the second game, it was a combined effort of Kahiau Rivera, AJ Blanco, Tate Garana and Lee keeping North Hawaii off the scoreboard.
“Pitching was the difference for us,” Lorenzo said. “We have very dominant pitchers and Kingston especially played very well.”
Lee agreed, saying everything was working for him on the mound.
“It was a fun weekend and our hitting was solid,” Lee, a Konawaena student, said. “I’m looking forward to facing the top competition at the state tournament.”
The state tourney for the Major Division (ages 9-12) will be held in Naalehu from July 19-23. There will be five teams competing for a spot at the Western Regional in San Bernardino, Calif.
Lorenzo is extra pumped for the tourney because he gets to take his powerhouse team to the fields where he grew up playing baseball.
“Naalehu is where I was born and raised. I can’t wait,” he said. “These kids are ready and they are hungry.”