As a rule, coach Stacey Jarneski doesn’t like to heap much praise upon his son/ace.
But as the PONY League stage switches from regional to international, Joey Jarneski is starting to put that policy to the test at the World Series.
Jarneski struck out 11 in his third complete game on the mainland Saturday, and doubles by Ryan Ragual, Trayden Tamiya and DallasJ Duarte fueled the Hilo All-Stars to a 4-1 victory over Chesterfield County, Va., in Washington, Pa.
“His cutter wasn’t as effective as it was in California,” Stacey Jarneski said. “He relied more on his fastball and changeup.”
Joey Jarneski, a Hilo High sophomore, allowed an unearned run on five hits at Lew Hays PONY Field. In going 3-0 on the mainland, he’s compiled 30 strikeouts for the West Zone champion.
Hilo gets a day off and will face either Mexico or Washington, Pa., at 2 p.m. Hawaii time on Monday.
“I like our bracket,” said Stacey Jarneski, who noted Chinese Taipei and Puerto Rico looked formidable on the other half of the 10-team, double-elimination (ages 13-14) tournament.
Tamiya is the only returning member from a Hilo squad that finished 1-2 at the World Series last year, including a loss to Chesterfield. With the score 1-1 on Saturday, he triggered the go-ahead rally in the fourth with a leadoff double and scored on Eric Riveira’s single.
“I told them to believe we can play our own game and we’ll be fine,” Tamiya said. “It’s good to be back. Different players, but I think this year’s team has a good chance of winning.”
In the fifth, Duarte doubled with two outs, and he and Joey Jarneski each came home when Jarneski’s single was misplayed in the outfield for a three-base error.
Chesterfield starter Ryan Smith needed only five pitches to retire the side in the first inning. Hilo scored its first run when Ragual doubled to left field and scampered home on bunts by Kahale Huddleston and Duarte.
“They were a little anxious, but they just had to relax and wait for their pitch,” Stacey Jarneski said. “They were all ready to go.”
Smith lasted five innings and allowed eight hits, including a double by Jaisten Cabatbat.
The team flew from California to Pennsylvania on Thursday, all the while trying to stay in touch with family and friends back home as Hurricane Iselle bore down on the Big Island. Some family members were unable to make the trip to Pennsylvania because their flights from Hawaii were canceled, but Jarneski said a group of local fans has adopted the team.
“They remember Trayden and his dad (coach Troy Tamiya) from last year,” Stacey Jarneski said. “They carry Hawaii signs and greeted us.
“The park is really beautiful.”
Note: In Friday’s skills competition, Huddleston won the faster runner event, and Joey Jarneski was runner-up in the home run derby.