A little bit of travel did not affect the Hilo Red Mustang All-Stars high-powered offense.
Behind three home runs from Makakoa Auwae, Hilo knocked off West Oahu 12-1 in its opening game at the state PONY League tournament on Friday on Maui.
“He ignited our offense,” head coach Shon Malani said. “It was a slow start for the first two innings, but the second time (Auwae) came up, his bat got rolling. Our whole team settled down after that first home run and everything started to flow.”
Auwae carried the majority of the load offensively, but had some help. Carson Kawaguchi, Brock Alani and Kedren Kinzie all had a pair of hits in the win.
Hilo pitcher Dylan Honda recorded the win on the mound.
Hilo will play Windward A Saturday at 8 a.m. with a potential bye until Monday in the double-elimination tournament on the line.
“That will be a big game for us,” said Malani. “A bye would be really nice to have going forward.”
The team capped a second undefeated season on the Big Island with a 17-7 victory against Kona at the Big Island PONY tournament June 15. The squad is attempting to play its way to the mainland for the PONY League World Series for a third consecutive year.
Other Big Island team scores:
Hilo Pinto White 16, Aiea 6
COYBL 7, Hilo Pinto Red 3
Hilo Pinto White 6, Kona 5
COYBL 7, Hilo 0
Kona vs. MKYBL, after press time
West Oahu vs. Hilo, after press time
Hilo Red vs. Kona, 8 a.m.
West Oahu vs. Hilo White, 11:30 a.m.
Hilo vs. Windward A, 8 a.m.
Hilo vs. loser COYBL/Maui Host, 4 p.m.