LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL
Waipio Little League clinches spot in Northwest semis
SAN BERNARDINO » So far, so good for the Waipio Little League baseball team.
Waipio pounded Utah 12-2 last night at Al Houghton Stadium to remain unbeaten (3-0) in Northwest Region pool play.
"Our state tournament was the hardest I've seen in my three years here and I think that really prepared us for this," said Timo Donahue, the former Cleveland Indians' minor league player who has managed the Waipio team for the past three years.
Now things get really difficult for Waipio. At 7:30 p.m. today it meets the West Region's other unbeaten team, juggernaut Nevada (2-0), which opened pool play with an 8-0 victory over formidable Southern California.
Utah manager Greg Sanders thinks Waipio can hang in there with the tough Paseo Verde Little League team of Henderson, Nev.
"Hawaii is very disciplined at the plate and they have good gloves," Sanders said. "If they can hold Nevada down (offensively), they'll have a chance."
More importantly, Waipio has clinched a spot in Thursday night's semifinals, regardless of the outcome against Nevada.
The Northwest title game is at 3 p.m. (Pacific time) Saturday, live on ESPN. The winner of that advances to the World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Donahue thinks this is the strongest team he has brought to the mainland and his Waipio kids showed their maturity against the Cedar City American Little League team from Utah.
Christian "C-boy" Donahue's two-run double in the second inning gave Waipio a 4-0 lead. But Utah bounced back in the third inning with a two-run home run by Hunter Low.
Waipio seized back control in the fifth with five runs. Pikai Winchester and Jedd Andrade had run-scoring singles and Tanner Tokunaga added a two-run double. Tokunaga led Hawaii with three hits and Winchester had two hits, including a long two-run home run in a three-run sixth inning. Also for Hawaii, Iolana Akau had a single and a triple.
Winchester was modest about his contributions.
"I got lucky," he said. "(On the home run) it was an outside fastball. I wasn't expecting that pitch, but it felt good."
Dusty Hone, Trevor Sanders and Low had the only hits for Utah. Left-hander Khade Paris got the win for Waipio, allowing one hit and no runs in two innings. Paris struck out five and walked one.
Tokunaga, Donahue and Trevor Ling all pitched effectively in relief.
Pearl City wins regional
The Pearl City Little League Senior (ages 14-15) team captured the West Regional title yesterday with an 11-1, five-inning mercy-rule victory over Southern California at Ontario, Calif.
The Pearl City team advanced to the Senior League World Series, which starts Sunday in Bangor, Maine.
Victoria upends Mililani
Victoria, Calif., defeated Mililani 6-1 in the PONY baseball Pony (ages 13-14) West Zone Tournament in Fullerton, Calif.
Soobin Kang had two hits to lead Mililani, which plays Victoria again today for the right to advance to the title game.