By MATT GERHART
Tribune-Herald sports writer
The Hilo Bronco All-Stars have a day off, and Bryce Furuli doesn’t plan on wasting it.
“Cruise,” he said at Walter Victor Stadium of his plans. “Over here probably.”
Or to the mall, perhaps, or to the movies or maybe the beach.
And why not? Hilo deserves it.
Eric Riveira slugged another home run and provided four innings of shutout relief Sunday as Hilo trumped Makakilo-Kapolei 8-1 to reach the championship game of the state PONY baseball tournament.
After easing to its third straight victory, Hilo won’t have to take the field again until 9 a.m. Tuesday, when some team will have to try to figure out a way to beat Hilo, which has outscored its ages 11-12 opponents 27-5, twice.
Stopping Riveira will be the first task. Even when pitchers locate the ball well, he’s a tough out. Makakilo-Kapolei had him played so deep in the sixth that his pop fly fell harmlessly in right field for an RBI.
His solo home run in the first was his third of the tournament. He was intentionally walked twice, including with the bases empty in the fifth, and Hilo took advantage to manufacture a run. Riveira was sacrificed to second and scored on a passed ball to give Hilo a 3-1 lead.
Casey Yamauchi fueled a five-run rally with a leadoff double in the sixth, and Riveira, Furuli and Jacob Igawa came through with RBI singles.
“Everybody behind Eric is stepping up, too,” Furuli said.
Coach Lenn Miyao praised Furuli after the game for being one of Hilo’s catalysts for the second day in a row.
“He’s a great catcher, but he came off the bench for us the last two days,” Miyao said. “For someone that’s that good of a catcher, it’s tough (to not start). But he did it two days in a row with clutch hits.”
Ryan Ragual pitched three strong innings for Hilo before giving way to Riveira after Jonathan Spangler-Sakata’s RBI double cut the lead to 2-1.
Riveira’s spotless performance on the mound came on the heels of the one-hitter he through Friday against Mililani.
Noah Domogsac went five innings for Makakilo-Kapolei, which will play either Kona or Maui at 11:30 a.m. today for spot in the title game.
Whichever team reaches the final may have to face Riveira, who will be eligible to pitch again under PONY’s 40-hour rule.
But first, Hilo’s got a day off to burn.
“They’re probably going to go to the mall,” Miyao said.
• Kona 6, Kauai 5: Bryton Lewi hit a two-run home run and Toby Estrella had a solo blast among his three hits as Kona staved off elimination for the second straight day.
Jason Alani pitched a complete game and Tevin Canda added a double for Kona, which will have to win twice today to reach the final.
• Hilo 16, Windward (Oahu) 14: Kedren Kinzie and Brock Malani each banged out four hits as Hilo slugged its way to victory in Game 1 in the best-of-three series.
Blane Baclig, Carson Kawaguchi and Makakoa Auwae each added two hits.
Kawaguchi, Dylan Honda and Baclig handled the pitching duties.
Game 2 is at 2 p.m. today.
• West Kauai 3, Hilo 2: Degan Davis pumped the strike zone in a complete game, sending Hilo to its first loss of the tournament.
The good news in the minds of many of the Hilo youngsters?
They get to take the field again today.
“It’s always great to play,” Hilo coach Chris Honda said. “What a great experience.”
At 11:30 a.m. today, Hilo will face the winner of a 9 a.m. contest between Makakilo-Kapolei and Maui for the right to meet West Kauai in Tuesday’s ages 9-10 championship game.
Davis surrendered a solo home run to Kala‘I Rosario in the first inning, but he exhibited pinpoint control, walking only one batter. Davis induced 11 groundball outs and scattered five hits with three strikeouts.
“Our bats never came around today, but (Davis) pitched really well and did his job,” Honda said. “Hats off to them. They’re a good team. We got beat today.”
West Kauai scored all of its runs in the bottom of the third, an inning highlighted by Kanaan Ephan’s RBI double and a two-out run-scoring single from Kristian Cardejon.
Safea Mauai, who started and pitched two scoreless innings, led off the fourth with a double and came home on Braxton Cagampang’s sacrifice fly to cut Hilo’s defecit to 3-2.
Davis stranded the tying runner at third to end the game.
Cagampang worked the final three innings on the mound for Hilo.
Hilo 100 100 — 2 5 1
West Kauai 003 00x — 3 6 2
• Kauai 6, Hilo 2: Aaron Renaud pitched three scoreless innings of relief and added three hits and two RBIs at the plate, and Kaiolohia Perreira-Alquiza also collected three hits to lead California-bound Kauai to the state title.
Renaud and Cody Taniguchi served RBI singles to left in the first inning as Kauai scored three times against Hilo left-hander David Nakamura, finishing 3-0 at the tournament to earn a berth in the West Zone Regional in Fullerton, Calif.
Nakamura settled from there and struck out seven in a complete game.
Dallas Duarte homered to left-center in the fourth for Hilo and finished with two hits and both of his team’s runs. He led off the second with a single and scored on Aidan Ah Hee’s sacrifice fly.
Backed by a defense that didn’t commit an error, starter Thomas Yam yielded seven hits with two strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter, and got the win. Renaud fired three scoreless innings to earn the save, getting a big strikeout to strand the bases loaded in the sixth.
Kauai rode the same pitching combination Saturday in a 15-6 victory against Hilo.
Hilo collected 10 hits but left nine runners on base.
Nakamura, who allowed 11 hits and three walks, finished with two hits at the plate, as did Joey Jarneski, who had a double, Nathan Minami and Kainalu Kahapea.
Perreira-Alquiza doubled to lead off the fifth and scored, then he added a run-scoring single in the sixth. Wentworth Rivera had two hits, including a RBI single.
Kauai 300 012 0 — 6 11 0
Hilo 010 100 0 — 2 10 3