Unbeaten Hilo plated five runs in the fifth inning and held on to edge Arizona 9-7 in pool play Friday in the Little League Western Regional Seniors baseball tournament in Ontario, Calif.
The nine-team tournament for players ages 15-17 runs through Tuesday with the champion advancing to the Seniors World Series, Aug. 11-18, in Bangor, Maine.
The Big Islanders (3-0) have a bye today and battle Southern California (3-0) at 3 p.m. HST on Sunday to close pool play. Both teams have clinched berths in the tournament semifinal round on Monday.
Bronson Pulgados went 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI to lead the eight-hit Hilo attack, while starting pitcher Kihei Serrao earned the win.
Serrao pitched four innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He struck out four and walked one in holding Arizona in check. But reliever Alika Guillermo ran into some trouble in the bottom of the fifth, allowing four runs before Ryan Torres-Torioka got the final out.
Tyler Thornley hurled the final two innings, allowing a run but kept the dangerous Arizona hitters in check.
Pulgados was the only Hilo batter to pair hits. Serrao helped his own cause with a double and an RBI. Tyler Higa-Gonsalves and Torres-Torioka each had a hit and an RBI, and Makoa Rosario, Chay Toson and Evyn Yamaguchi had a hit apiece.
Hilo 200 150 1 — 9 8 2
Arizona 200 041 0 — 7 8 3