Hilo rallies for first win at state Little League tournament

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald The Hilo All-Stars open play at the state Little League tournament (ages 11-12) on Friday on Maui. On the team are, from left, back row: Logan Doran, Landon Haili, Ghage Daquep, Blayze Leslie, Cameron Mateo, Kendrick-Allen Stevens and Conor Wallace; front row, from left, Zanden Kepaa, Brock Ayudan, Jesse Inouye, Knox Marzo, John Branco and Josiah Nihoa.

After Hilo’s win Saturday, its first of the state Little League tournament, coach Earl Moses sent his all-star team right back to work.

“We were in the batting cages for a while,” he said of his ages 11-12 club. “We stranded a lot of runners. That won’t work if we want to win tomorrow against Maui.”

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But at least there is a tomorrow.

Hilo picked up its first victory of a tournament in Kihei, Maui, that us being defined by parity, scratching for a run in the bottom of the sixth for 6-5 walk-off victory to eliminate Pearl City, Oahu.

Cameron Mateo started the rally with a walk, he moved to second on Connor Wallace’s deep single, and he scored when Brock Ayudan’s hard-hit ball was misplayed on the infield.

Landon Haili pitched into the sixth, delivering 85 pitches – the maximum – before Knox Marzo stranded the potential tying run on base.

Stranded runners and good pitching have been the themes of the tournament so far, Moses said. All four games have been decided by one run.

Haili is ineligible to pitch the remainder of the tournament, but Moses said he has plenty of pitchers he trusts.

“Landon was our horse today,” he said. ‘He gave us everything he had.”

Wallace also had a double and drove in a run, and John Branco had a triple.

Honolulu, which edged Hilo 4-3 on Friday, advanced in the winner’s bracket with a 6-5 win against Maui, which had the advantage of an off day Friday.

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Moses said Hilo will have to be on its game Sunday in its next elimination game.

“I think they were unlucky against Honolulu,” Moses said. “I told the kids, if we don’t hit against (Maui), it’s going to be a bad game.”

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