Cen­tral teams rally for wins in Se­ries open­ers


Staff Writer

Two World Se­ries open­ers, two fi­nal-in­ning come­backs for Cen­tral East Maui Lit­tle League on Sun­day.

Cen­tral scored three times in the bottom of the sev­enth for a 6-5 walkoff win over West Univer­sity of Hous­ton at the Se­nior (15-16) League World Se­ries in Easley, S.C. — Ja­cob Chong scored the win­ning run on a wild pitch.

“They never say die. Th­ese boys are un­be­liev­able,” said Cen­tral man­ager Shane Awai. “They’re fighters all the way.”

At the In­ter­me­di­ate (12-13) World Se­ries in Liver­more, Calif., Cen­tral scored four runs in the top of the sev­enth in an 11-9 win over North Palm Beach, Fla., im­prov­ing to 12-0 this sum­mer. The Maui In­ter­me­di­ates were play­ing for the first time since scor­ing 18 runs in the top of the sev­enth to beat North Natomas (Calif.) 21-10 in the West Re­gional cham­pi­onship in No­gales, Ariz.

In­ter­me­di­ate coach Jamie Aloy said his team does worry about go­ing down to its last in­ning — “but not as much was as other teams, ob­vi­ously. I think the game in No­gales helped.”

In the Se­nior game, Cen­tral’s Jyrah Lalim scored in the sev­enth be­fore Tris­tan An­dre came home on a ground­out by Kevin Varner to tie the score. Maui trailed 5-1 go­ing to the bottom of the fifth.

Varner, Lalim and Kaipo Haole all fin­ished 2-for-4 and scored a run for Cen­tral, which won its 10th game in a row, and is 12-1 over­all. Kon­nor Palmeira had two RBIs, and Varner and Lalim each drove in a run.

Maui will play South­east cham­pion Co­ral Springs, Fla., on Tues­day with a berth to Friday’s U.S. cham­pi­onship game on the line. The world ti­tle game is sched­uled for Saturday.

Lalim earned the win with three score­less in­nings in re­lief of Bubba Hoopii-Tuione­toa.

Haole, who pitched a shutout in the West Re­gional fi­nal, will pitch Tues­day, Awai said.

“I couldn’t use Kaipo to­day be­cause he was on his four-day rest from re­gion­als,” Awai said. “So I got him avail­able from to­mor­row on. On Wed­nes­day, I’ve got all my pitch­ers back again ex­cept Kaipo, probably.

“It’s so im­por­tant to stay in that win­ner’s bracket, so that’s what we’re try­ing to do. … We used our whole bench to­day.”

The In­ter­me­di­ates trailed 8-7 go­ing to the sev­enth. An­drew Teruya then hit a two-run dou­ble, Danelle Daniels fol­lowed with an RBI triple and Keoni Painter sin­gled home a run.

Daniels dou­bled home the first two runs of the game in the sec­ond in­ning. Painter fin­ished 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and Dy­lan Kokubun was 3-for-4 with two runs.

Maui used six pitch­ers — We­hiwa Aloy got the win, and Davin Lewis earned a save.

“It wasn’t their best game, but they found a way to pull it off,” Jamie Aloy said.

Maui will play the U.S. Cen­tral rep­re­sen­ta­tive, High­lander Youth Recre­ation of Ge­orge­town, Ind., to­day. Maui is two wins from the In­ter­me­di­ate na­tional fi­nal.

“We’re go­ing into to­mor­row with our two bulls ready, so to speak — we got Matt Di­nae and Davin,” Jamie Aloy said. “We’re go­ing into to­mor­row’s game with the men­tal­ity that they’re here at a World Se­ries, so that says some­thing. We’re go­ing to ex­pect every­thing.”

Robert Collias is at rcol­lias@mauinews.com

808photo.me / JO­HANN MEYA pho­tos

PHOTO ABOVE: Aus­tralia’s Travis Grant pad­dles ahead of Maui’s Con­nor Bax­ter on the way to a record­set­ting win in the Molokai2Oahu Pad­dle­board World Cham­pi­onships on Sun­day. Grant cov­ered the ap­prox­i­mately 32 miles across Kaiwi Chan­nel from Kalua Koi to...

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