The game was somewhat uncharacteristic: It went the distance and Hilo All-Stars didn’t reach double digits in the run column.
But the result was the same: The ages 11-12 team remained unbeaten at the Bronco West Zone tournament in Whittier, Calif.
Bula Ahuna pitched five strong innings, and Hilo pounded out 15 hits to beat Whittier 7-2 on Friday, advancing to the semifinals.
“It was a long game,” said coach Marvin Min, who’s used to watching Hilo Red win in TKO fashion, including a 15-2 win a day earlier. “They had a good pitcher, and he kept us off-balance.”
The same could be said of Ahuna, who shut down a Whittier club that was coming off a 19-0 win, allowing only two unearned runs and two hits. He struck out three and walked three, and then Stone Miyao struck out five in two innings.
Hilo faces Santa Monica, Calif., at 8:30 a.m. Hawaii time Saturday for a berth in Sunday’s championship game. The loser faces an elimination game later Saturday at the eight-team tournament.
“Santa Monica is a great hitting team,” Min said. “We’ve got to get the boys ice baths to rejuvenate the body for (Saturday).”
A pair of Hilo errors in the second helped Whittier take a 2-0 lead, but Min said Hilo finally started bunching hits together as it scored four times in the fourth.
Kalani Marquez finished 3 for 4 and Devin Midel racked up another mulitihit game, going 2 for 3 with two walks and a double. Maui Ahuna and Miyao each collected two hits and Bula Ahuna doubled.
Min would have liked to see his team take advantage of its myriad scoring opportunities.
“We didn’t adjust to the strikezone,” he said. “Not as good as we’ve been, but good enough to win.”
Hilo 000 401 2 — 7 15 2
Whittier 020 010 0 — 2 3 3