The Hilo Mustang 9 All-Stars enjoyed a three-game winning streak before ultimately falling short at the PONY Baseball West regional in Walnut, Calif.
“An unbelievable experience,” coach Shon Malani said Monday. “Hilo should be proud of these kids. They battled hard and I feel blessed to coach them.”
Hilo staved off elimination for the third straight game Monday by avenging an earlier loss to Northern California with an 10-8 victory in which Dylan Honda pitched three scoreless innings to pick up the victory.
Makakoa Auwae came through with three hits, Kedren Kinzie collected two hits and two RBIs and Elijah Igawa also finished with two hits.
Later on Monday, however, Hilo was eliminated when Los Alamitos, Calif., held on for a 10-8 victory.
Carson Kawaguchi and Auwae each had two hits for the Hawaii champions, and Brock Malani smacked a double with three RBIs.
Coach Shon Malani says the best is still to come for his group of 8- and 9-year-olds, many of whom were playing in a California regional for the second straight year.
“The kids are a special group,” he said. “A bunch of little terriers. Perhaps the smallest team here, but they had the biggest hearts. They made a lot of fans here.”
The other members of the Hilo Mustangs are Keamalu Baclig, Kayla Kodani, Aiden Shikuma, Dante Medeiros, Mason Hirata, Spencer Yoshizumi and Dacen Hisashima.
Malani is assisted by Ronald Auwae and Grant Baclig.