Hilo is still on track to defend its World Series title.
Alika Guillermo pitched six solid innings Tuesday night and Kihei Serrao keyed a 12-hit attack by going 3 for 4 with a triple as Hilo won the state Senior Little League tournament with a 6-2 victory against Maui in Waipahu, Oahu.
Most of the faces have changed — only two players are back from last year’s world championship squad — but assistant coach Clayton Ah Hee said the team’s goal has always remained the same.
“The kids knew what was stake,” Ah Hee said. “They wanted to represent Hilo again and repeat as champions.”
First up for Hilo is a berth at the West Regional, which starts Aug. 3 in Ontario, Calif.
Ah Hee said Hilo has three aces, and Guillermo certainly fit the bill in Tuesday’s final of the ages 15-16 baseball tournament, striking out five and working around three walks and seven hits to get the victory.
Guillermo and Ryan Torres-Torrioka each went 2 for 4 and Bronson Pulgados added a double for Hilo, which went ahead for good when it scored a run in top of the second to take a 2-1 lead.
Tyler Thornley pitched a third of an inning in the seventh before Torres-Torioka struck out a batter in getting the final two outs.
“The boys executed. Good pitching and timely hitting,” Ah Hee said.
Travis Kamanu went 2 2/3 innings and took the loss for Maui (2-2), which forced the winner-take-all Monday when it handed Hilo (3-1) its first loss in an 11-1 victory.
Ah Hee said Hilo never lost its confidence, however.
“They came back strong. We had a good night’s rest, then a good practice in the afternoon and then we fed them and they knew what they had to do,” he said. “Everything jelled.”
Hilo 111 001 2— 6 12 0
Maui 100 100 0—2 7 1
Waipio needed a late rally to force a second game.
The eventual title game was over early.
Waipio came out of the losers bracket in the state Minors Little League tournament to win twice over Kaneohe and claim the championship for players ages 9 and 10.
Waipio scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to win the first game 8-6 Tuesday in Waimea and force the second game. Waipio took the second game 8-1.
Kaneohe rallied in the top of the sixth inning of Game 1 for three runs to take a 6-5 lead. Devin Shimabukuro, though, tied the game in the home half of the inning on a wild pitch. Then, Kailyn Barrett hit a two-run double to send the teams to the extra game.
Barrett also hit a home run in the fifth inning. Vincent Ogasawara went 2 for 2 with a triple and two RBIs in the win. Cody Hirano added a double.
Braeden Joines pitched the final two-thirds of the sixth and earned the win.
For Kaneohe, Connor Lopes went 2 for 4 with an RBI, and Isaiah Knight went 3 for 4 with a double and three RBIs.
Javyn Pimental suffered the loss.
In the second game, Barrett went 3 for 4 with a double and two RBIs. Maiah Motta went 2 for 4 with a triple and two RBIs, and Ogasawara went 3 for 3 with two doubles.
Barrett struck out seven in 4 1/3 innings to collect the win. She gave up two hits and three walks.
Solomon Farley gave up eight hits and four runs in three innings to suffer the loss. He also struck out three.
There is no regional or World Series tournament for the minors division.
Kaneohe 003 003 — 6 11
Waipio 100 313 — 8 10
Waipio 004 202 — 8 17
Kaneohe 000 001 — 1 4