HILO — The Stars used a late rally and some extra inning excitement to topple Maui.
But good fortune was on Hawaii’s side, and the Stars scored on an error to upend Na Koa Ikaika Maui 3-2 of the bottom of the 11th inning in a North American Baseball League game on Tuesday night at Wong Stadium.
With the score tied at 2 in the bottom of the 11th, Hawaii got the rally started. Against Vinnie St. John, Maui’s fourth pitcher of the night, Logan Kanamu, a former Na Koa player, walked and went to second on a wild pitch. Then Reece Alnas blistered a hard grounder that bounced off second baseman Gered Mochizuki, allowing the pinch-hitting catcher to race home for the winning run.
Maui (26-24) fell four games back of the North division leading San Rafael Pacifics, who topped the Sonoma County Grapes 3-2 to keep the Stars at five games back. Hawaii (22-22) has 10 games left.
In the ninth, Hawaii rallied to tie it 2-2 and force the extra innings.
Matt Hibbert led off with a bloop single off Maui closer Victor Ferrante. Keoni Manago hit a shot past center fielder Keith Kendal, and Hawaii manager Garry Templeton Jr. waved Hibbert home.
But Kendal ran down the ball, recovered and threw a bullet to catcher Alan Rick, who was waiting eagerly with the tag. With Manago on second, Templeton called a hit-and-run. It worked to perfection. Anthony Lopez hit the ball, and Manago was running and scored ahead of left fielder Waylen Sing Chow’s throw, tying the game.
Roman Martinez picked up the win in relief with three scoreless innings. St. John, who didn’t record an out, got the loss. Hibbert and Lopez each went 2-for-5 to lead the Stars.
Alnas didn’t need a timely hit for the game-winner. He just needed to hit the ball. He went 1-for-4, with that important sacrifice fly.
The Stars and Na Koa play the third game of a six-game series at 5:35 p.m. today at Wong. Bryan Herrera (3-2, 4.79 ERA) is scheduled to start for Hawaii.
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