Since winning the state PONY Baseball title for ages 11-12 more than three weeks ago, coach Lenn Miyao said that Hilo has only stopped to take two days off from practice to rest.
“A lot of work (since then),” Miyao said.
Much of the work came in the batting cage, and the extra time certainly showed as the Hilo Broncos exhibited their hitting prowess on the mainland.
Ryan Ragual hit two more home runs Thursday and the All-Stars registered 18 hits to overwhelm Bakersfield, Calif., 15-6 in their opener at the West regional in Whittier, Calif.
Micah Bello was 4 for 5 with a double and two RBIs and Casey Yamauchi also had four hits and drove in a run for Hilo, which has gone mostly untested in winning all five of its postseason games.
Miyao said the key is that his youngsters truly handle their business one game at a time.
“I don’t even think they know how many games they have to play here,” Miyao said. “They were only worried about (Thursday).”
The All-Stars continue their journey at the eight-team tournament at 2 p.m. Hawaii time today against Whittier, Calif., which beat Farmington, Utah, 11-1.
Hilo ace Eric Riveira pitched a complete game to earn the victory, yielding five hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
“He pitched a good seven-inning game,” Miyao said. “That was the plan.”
Coming off a two-homer performance in the state title game July 2, Ragual went deep in the third inning as Hilo scored six times to take a 10-3 lead. Ragual finished with three RBIs, homering again in the fifth.
“He’s a big boy and he was prepared,” Miyao said. “If pitchers make mistakes, he knows how to take advantage.
“We told the team that everybody played well. We just have to secure outs when we can.”
Stone Miyao added two hits and two RBIs for Hilo.
Other members of the the Broncos are Reese Mondina, Rekky Prudencio, Lono Vincent, Bryce Furuli, Jaime Ebersole, Reis Stradtman-Carvalho, Jacob Igawa, Logan Respicio and Maui Ahuna.
The tournament winner advances to the World Series, which starts Aug. 1 in Los Alamitos, Calif.
Bakersfield 003 300 0 —6 5 5
Hilo 406 221 x—15 18 3