Lewa Emmsley belted a two-run single in the top of the sixth inning to cap a four-run rally, and Kapolei held on to edge Hilo 8-6 in the first round of the state Little League Mustangs (ages 9-10) baseball tournament on Friday.
The eight-team, double-elimination event is being played at Central Oahu Regional Park.
Hilo (0-1) will battle Friday’s Ewa Beach/Maui loser at 1 p.m. today in the loser’s bracket.
“We lost a heartbreaker today,” said Hilo business manager Lenny Paik. “We came out strong and battled all the way.”
Emmsley, Kahiau Lum Ho and Gordon De Lima each had two hits for Kapolei (1-0). Emmsley and De Lima each had two runs batted in. No one paired hits for Hilo. Bula Ahuna led the seven-hit Hilo attack with a two-run single, and Braeden Coloma added an RBI double.
Kapolei banged out 10 hits and took advantage of nine walks against four Hilo hurlers. Kaniala Kalaola started for Kapolei and pitched three innings, giving up five runs. Reliever Landon Shove hurled the final three innings and got the win.
Hilo starter Khaden Victorino went three innings, allowing four runs. He got relief help from Bulle Baclig, Bully Ahuna and Maui Ahuna. Maui Ahuna was tagged with the loss.
Hilo scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning and led 5-1 through two innings. But Kapolei plated three runs in the third, and after the Big Islanders added a solo run in the fifth, the Oahu squad took the lead for good with its big sixth inning.