HILO — Ronnie Loeffler pitched a gem, and the Hawaii Stars’ bats woke up from a long hibernation to upstage Na Koa Ikaika Maui pitcher Eri Yoshida’s effort on Saturday night at Wong Stadium.
Yoshida’s pitches indeed floated like a butterfly, but the Stars eventually timed her knucklers and peppered enough base hits for an 8-3 win in a North American Baseball League game that lasted a mere 2 hours and 12 minutes.
The Stars (11-12) and Na Koa Ikaika (12-11) conclude the six-game series at 1:35 p.m. today at Wong.
The 6-foot-2 right-handed Loeffler used his fastball to set up his off-speed stuff and tame Maui’s bats.
He allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks, and he struck out two. Loeffler is now 4-1 with a 3.60 ERA, suddenly riding an upswing like the Stars, who have won two straight.
Yoshida (3-1, 3.60 ERA) pitched shutout ball through the first three innings, and she struck out three. She pitched from the stretch, and her knuckleball danced in both directions.
The Stars scored three runs in the fourth and fifth innings off her, concentrating on making contact instead of trying to hit home runs.
Steve Tedesco hit her first pitch of the fourth inning. Matt Hibbert was next and also hit the first pitch on a hit-and-run. Antony Lopez had an RBI single on a 1-2 pitch, and Brendan Davis followed with a first-pitch, run-scoring single. Jason Thomas grounded into a double play for the other run.
In the fifth, Angel Sanchez singled on a first pitch, Keoni Manago walked, and Tedesco reached on a fielder’s choice RBI. One batter later, Lopez dribbled a ball to second baseman Gered Mochizuki, whose throwing error produced two runs. Lopez was thrown out at third.
Friday’s late game
c Hawaii 3, Maui 2, 14 innings: In a scheduled seven-inning game that lasted twice as long, Arnoldo Ponce walked with the bases loaded off second baseman-turned-emergency-pitcher Kalaika Kahoohalahala to bring in the winning run.
The 14-inning marathon lasted 4 hours and 54 minutes and included 10 pitchers, seven for Maui and three for Hawaii. Cortney Arruda, the last of the Hawaii pitchers, earned the win with one-run relief over three innings.