Backed by a flawless defense, the Hilo All-Stars didn’t need to burn their ace to reach the championship game of the PONY League World Series.
It might have been good practice. One victory from the pinnacle, Hilo might have to take the last step without him.
Hilo breezed to two more victories in Washington, Pa., but the enthusiasm of a 11-2 victory Tuesday night against Chesterfield County, Va., in the bracket final was tempered by Joey Jarneski’s injury.
Coach Stacey Jarneski said his son was taken to the hospital and was scheduled to have a CT scan after he was hit directly in his right eye by a catcher’s throw after he was caught in a rundown.
“He got caught in a pickle and was hit. It was swollen,” Stacey Jarneski said. “The team all wanted to go see him in the hospital, but they have curfew.”
Hilo will face either Puerto Rico or Chinese Taipei at 1:30 p.m. Hawaii time Wednesday for the world championship for ages 13-14. The game can be watched online on ESPN3.
On the other side of the bracket Tuesday, Puerto Rico did Hilo a favor when it handed Chinese Taipei its first loss with a 4-2 victory. The teams will meet again at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“If we play defense like we played today, we’ll be hard to beat,” Stacey Jarneski said.
He admitted Hilo will have to “piece” things together on the mound if Joey Jarneski is unavailable Wednesday.
Reese Mondina pitched a three-hitter earlier Tuesday in a 9-0 victory against Mexico, and Jaisten Cabatbat delivered four shutout innings to nail down a save for winning pitcher Ryan Ragual against Chesterfield. Due to PONY’s 40-hour rule for pitchers, neither Mondina nor Cabatbat are available Wednesday.
Hilo feasted on eight Chesterfield errors, and got three hits apiece by Joey Jarneski and Ragual. Kahale Huddleston drove in three runs to go along with two hits.
Hilo took the lead for good during a three-run second inning. Eric Riveira singled and scored on Micah Bello’s double, and Ragual doubled Bello home and scored on a throwing error.
Stacey Jarneski said all three of the pitchers he used Tuesday did well to induce groundballs and let their defense do their job.
Mondina, Hilo’s No.2 starter, allowed only three balls to leave the infield and struck out three. Ragual fanned one batter in three innings of work.
“As good as Reece’s pitching was, the defense was even better,” Stacey Jarneski said. “Ryan pitched well, but the defense had his back.”
Stacey Jarneski lauded the work of first-year catcher DallasJ Duarte.
“He’s caught every inning and called two more great games,” Stacey Jarneski said.
In the early win, David Nakamura hit two doubles, including a hit that drove in two runs to fuel a four-run fifth. Trayden Tamiya and Noah Kalaola-Richardson each posted RBI singles, and Mondina and Joey Jarneski each hit doubles.
Hilo 210 141 0 — 9 8 0
Mexico 000 000 0 —0 3 0
Hilo 030 303 2 — 11 12 0
Chesterfield 110 000 0 — 2 10 8
All games Hawaii times
At Washington, Pa.
Puerto Rico 12, Corpus Christi, Texas 1, 5 inn.
Bay County, Mich., 4, Johnstown Pa., 2
Hilo 4, Chesterfield, Va., 1
Washington, Pa., 17, Czech Republic 4, 6 inn.
Chinese Taipei 11, Puerto Rico 1
Mexico 7, Washington 1
Corpus Christi, Texas, 8, Johnstown, Pa., 3, Johnstown eliminated
Chesterfield, Va., 11, Czech Republic 0, 5 inn., Czech Republic eliminated
Puerto Rico 19, Corpus Christi, Texas, 1, 5 inn., Corpus Christi eliminated
Chesterfield, Va., 5, Washington, Pa., 2, Washington eliminated
Chinese Taipei 4, Bay County, Mich., 2
Hilo vs, Mexico, ppd, power failure
Hilo 9, Mexico 0
Puerto Rico 10, Bay County, Mich., 2, Bay County eliminated
Chesterfield, Va., 10, Mexico 7, Mexico eliminated
Puerto Rico 4, Chinese Taipei 2
Hilo 11, Chesterfield, Va., 2, Chesterfield eliminated
Game 17: Puerto Rico vs. Mexico, 4:30 a.m.
Hilo vs. Game 17 winner, 1:30 p.m.