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Star-Bulletin Sports


Thursday, July 12, 2001


[LITTLE LEAGUE]



Waipio boy, 12,
hurls perfect game

Samson Aina strikes out
all 18 batters he faces in a
Little League playoff game


Star-Bulletin staff

It's one for the books -- both the record book and state Little League annuals.

A perfect game.

Eighteen batters. Eighteen strikeouts.

Samson Aina, a 12-year-old right-hander for the Waipio All-Stars, was perfect yesterday in the District 7 Major Little League Tournament at Waipio Neighborhood Park.

Aina caught seven Waipahu batters looking and 11 swinging in a complete-game 7-0 victory. He threw 74 pitches over six innings, "some curves but mostly fastballs,'' according to Richard Ogomori, the Waipio pitching coach.

"A lot of people in the stands started getting excited around the third or fourth inning," Ogomori said. "For us, it was more a matter of the end result, of us winning. In the dugout, it was more, 'if it happens, it happens.' "

On the mound, Aina was just thinking about helping his team win.

"I was in a zone, not listening, just thinking about throwing strikes," said the incoming seventh-grader at Our Lady of Good Counsel.

Aina's one shaky moment came in the sixth when he fell behind 3-0 on three straight balls against the leadoff batter.

"They were all high,'' said Aina. "I knew then I had to settle down."

There were a couple of foul tips during the course of the game and Waipahu tried to bunt several times to break up the no-hitter.

"It was just meant for him to have this game," said Ogomori. "After the game, I told the team that they were very fortunate to have experienced something like this."

According to two longtime state Little League officials contacted last night, this was the first 18-strikeout perfect game in Hawaii history.

In the other District 7 tournament game, Pearl City defeated Waialua, 5-1.



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