The hard-hitting Hilo All-Stars brought out the heavy lumber and hammered Oregon 17-3 in a five-inning semifinal win Monday at the Little League Seniors western regional baseball tournament in Ontario, Calif.
The nine-team event for players ages 15-17 wraps up today with unbeaten Hilo (5-0) taking on Southern California (4-1) in the championship game at 3 p.m. at Littleton Field. The winner advances to the Seniors World Series, Aug. 11-18, in Bangor, Maine. Hilo is the defending western regional and World Series champion.
On Monday, Southern California, the Pool B second seed, fought past Pool A top seed Northern California 3-2 to reach the title game. Hilo, the Pool B top seed, beat Southern California 6-3 to end pool play Sunday.
“Our boys really hit the ball well today,” Hilo manager Zackery Higa said. “Oregon had a lot of walks and errors, but it came down to our boys just doing what they’ve been doing.”
The Big Islanders scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning, two in the second, eight in the third and three in the fourth in their offensive explosion. In the third inning, Hilo had seven of its 13 hits in a wild frame.
Oregon plated a run in the first inning and two in the third before being shut out the final two frames.
Ryan Torres-Torioka started for Hilo and went two innings. In earning the win, he allowed two hits and a run while striking out four and not giving up a walk. Torres-Torioka was followed on the mound by Bronson Pulgados (two-thirds of an inning, three hits, two runs, one strikeout), Chad Teshima (one-third inning, no hits), Austin Ah Hee (11⁄3 innings, three hits, one strikeout) and Kupono Decker (one inning, no hits).
Oregon starter Tyler Ross was saddled with the defeat. He didn’t get out of the first inning and was followed on the mound by two other hurlers.
Micah Kaaukai (RBI), Makoa Rosario (RBI) and Tyler Thornley each had two hits to lead Hilo. Evyn Yamaguchi (three RBIs), Chad Teshima (double, two RBIs), Candaroma (RBI), Tyler Higa-Gonsalves, Pulgados, Decker and Austin Ah Hee each added a base hit.
Teshima’s two-run double was the key hit in the first inning when Hilo rallied from a 1-0 deficit to grab a 4-1 advantage.
Oregon had nine hits and committed five errors on Monday. For the fourth time in five games, Hilo did not commit an error.
Oregon 102 00 — 3 9 5
Hilo 428 3x — 17 13 0