HILO — Patrick Esteban and his Kauai teammates exacted their revenge on Hilo.
Better yet, they didn’t have to wait long to do it.
Kauai erupted for 11 runs in the top of the first inning Sunday during a 13-2, five-inning victory that kept it unbeaten in state PONY League play at Wong Stadium. The game ended early because of the tournament’s mercy rule.
Hilo plays Maui at 4:30 p.m. today at Wong in an elimination game at the ages 13-14 tournament.
Kauai gets a day off to savor a victory against the team that it lost to in the state championship game last year. Manager Jason Koga said roughly half of his Lihue-based squad returned from last season.
With payback in mind, Esteban said his team simply rode a wave of momentum in the first inning, adding, “Right after we started scoring runs it felt good and got really fun.”
It wasn’t anything like that for Hilo as Kauai’s first 12 batters reached base to start the game. Esteban walked with the bases loaded to give Kauai a 1-0 lead, and the floodgates opened.
Brayden Abreu finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs and a two-run single in the first inning, leadoff hitter John Dumlao was 3-for-3, and Micah Layosa was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, including a two-run double in the first.
Hilo starter Ryder Oshiro faced seven batters, hitting three and walking one.
Staked to a big lead, Patrick Keamoai-Strickland worked four solid innings to pick up the victory. He allowed Kegan Miura’s RBI single in the second, striking out three and allowing four hits and two walks.
Eddie Barclay was 2-for-3 for Hilo, which had two runners thrown out at home. Looking to extend the game in the bottom of the fifth, Kobie Kinzie led off with a pinch-hit double but was cut down trying to score on Makana Aiona’s double.
“(Kauai) is always a top-three team in the state,” Koga said. “Against a home crowd we wanted to get up early.”
Keamoai-Strickland added a two-run single in the first inning against Barclay. Cal Koga, Dumlao and Abreu each had two hits and scored two runs in the first inning.
Kauai will face Ewa Beach in a semifinal at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Waltor Victor Complex.
The left-handed Barclay settled in the middle innings, retiring seven of eight batters at one point.
Right-hander Isaiah Mahaulu, who pitched a three-hit shutout Saturday to lift Hilo past Kapolei 2-0, played shortstop against Kauai but left the game and appeared to favor his right arm.
Kauai (11)00 02 — 13 11 1
Hilo 010 01 — 2 6 5
c Mililani 6, Makakilo-Kapolei 2: Justice Nakagawa and Kaimana Bartolome each clubbed two hits, including a double, to lead Mililani to a 6-2 win over Makakilo-Kapolei in a losers bracket game.
Teammates Codie Paiva and Landon Moran had a double apiece as the winners outhit Kapolei 9-5.
Kapolei 100 000 1 — 2 5 2
Mililani 100 140 x — 6 9 0
c Maui 6, Kona 2: Lane Kashiwamura and Rylie Velez each had two hits to spark Maui to a 6-2 win over Kona in a losers bracket game.
Velez and teammate Haloa Dudoit each had a double in the seven-hit Maui attack.
Blaise Leong and Shaden Lewi had two hits apiece for Kona, which was eliminated from the tournament.
Cade Echevary was the winning pitcher. Kainalu Kelii was tagged with the defeat.
Kona 000 000 2 — 2 5 2
Maui 001 032 x — 6 7 1
c Ewa/Ewa Beach vs. East Oahu: Results were not reported by press time.