Pearl City
Little Leaguers
within a game
of Series

They play Washington
on ESPN2 tomorrow for
the right to advance

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. >> Pearl City seems to be in no hurry to get to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Pearl City beat East Boise 6-3 yesterday when A.J. Johnson singled home a run in the top of the sixth to break a 3-3 tie and Bully Casarez doubled in two more. It is the same formula Pearl City has used to remain undefeated in its regional tournament, winning four of its five games in the final inning to come within a game of the Little League World Series.

But even if it doesn't follow Waipio, which represented Hawaii in Williamsport last year, it still gets to be on TV.

"The kids are dancing in the dorms," Pearl City manager Keith Nakamura said. "They know it's gonna be on ESPN. This is when it starts getting fun. They are happy about playing on Monday."

Pearl City and Washington will play on ESPN2 tomorrow at 4 p.m. Hawaii Time. Pearl City beat Washington 2-1 in pool play Tuesday behind the pitching of Chance Tanigawa.

Pearl City made it to the regional final behind its ace, Alika Pruett, who took the mound in relief of David Lee in the first inning and only allowed a single run the rest of the way. But because he pitched six innings yesterday, Pruett will not be able to throw tomorrow because of Little League rules. Pruett plays shortstop when he is not pitching.

"We still have some pitchers," Nakamura said. "David Lee will bounce back, Chance Tanigawa pitched good against them and Bryson Namba can throw. It all depends on how they feel."

After shutting them down with his arm yesterday, East Boise was not about to let Pruett beat them with his bat.

East Boise pitcher Kevin Hawk walked Pruett with a runner on first and one out in the top of the sixth, but Johnson made him pay for it two batters later. Johnson dropped a single into right field and Casarez drove in two more with a double to right center.

Pruett allowed East Boise to get the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the sixth before settling down to get a strikeout and a harmless ground ball to short to end the game.

"I don't know, it's in the air around here," Nakamura said about his team's penchant for winning games late. "I hope it doesn't happen too many times more."

Mililani still winning: Pearl City was not the only team to win in its final inning, as Mililani beat North Carolina 10-9 at the Bronco World Series at Monterey, Calif., yesterday.

Pitcher Austin Nakamura tied the game with a two-run homer in the top of the seventh before Darren Baccay singled in Desmond Ontai with the go-ahead run. Mililani takes on Whittier, Calif., today at 5 p.m. Hawaii time.


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