The Hilo all-stars provided their fans with an early fireworks show on Sunday, exploding for a combined 30 hits and 30 runs in a pair of impressive run-rule victories at the Hawaii Region Mustang (ages 9-10) baseball tournament on Sunday.
The Hawaii Region Mustang and Bronco tournaments, under PONY League Baseball, are being held at Central Oahu Regional Park on Oahu.
The Hilo Mustang all-stars, under manager Chris Honda, crushed Lihue 16-6 in a five-inning win Sunday morning, then came back to eliminate Kapolei 14-4 in a five-inning contest to remain alive in the eight-team, double-elimination tournament.
Kapolei rallied to beat Hilo 8-6 in Friday’s opening round, dropping the Big Islanders into the loser’s bracket.
“The win over Kapolei today was nice redemption,” Hilo business manager Lenny Paik said. “Our boys are starting to gel and really playing well as a team. The boys are really hitting the ball hard now; even their outs are hit hard right at somebody.”
Hilo (3-1) will play Mililani (2-1) at 10 a.m. today, and if Honda’s gutsy team motors past the Oahu squad, it will battle unbeaten Maui (3-0) at 1 p.m. today. Hilo needs to win twice today to force a sudden-death contest against Maui at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
“We’re just going to give it our best shot,” Paik said. “Our boys are playing well — hitting, pitching and defense.”
In the win over Lihue, Bula Ahuna and Cody Min each went 3-for-4, while Devon Hirata, Rydge Ishii and Khaden Victorino each added two hits. Hirata had three runs batted in, and Ahuna had two as Hilo pounded two Lihue pitchers for 15 hits.
Victorino started and went five innings to earn the win. He got relief help from Brycen Nakata. Lihue reliever Kaimi Malina took the loss.
Against Kapolei, Maui Ahuna went 4-for-4, scored four runs and had two RBIs to spark the Hilo attack. Hirata (two RBIs) and Ishii (one RBI) each had three hits, and Noah Ohara had two hits. Bronz Mure led Kapolei (2-2) with two hits.
Bula Ahuna started for Hilo and hurled three innings. Relievers Nakata (one inning) and Blake Baclig (one inning) pitched the final two innings, holding off their opponent.
“Blake pitched well, holding Kapolei to only one run,” Paik said.
Ahuna got the win. Kapolei starter Keanu Kalaola went three innings and took the loss.
c Note: It was incorrectly reported in a previous Mustangs story that the Oahu tournament was part of Little League.