For the record, coach Marvin Min did not catch the name of the train that derailed his team’s season.
But while he may not have known who the pitcher for Santa Monica was, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a memorable performance.
The left-hander slowed hard-hitting Hilo and even had an answer for Devin Midel. The All-Stars were eliminated Sunday in the championship game at the PONY Bronco West Zone, losing 2-1 in Whittier, Calif.
“He threw hard and had good offspeed pitches,” Min said. “He was crafty.”
Especially against Midel, who entered the game hitting an otherworldly 26 of 30 in the postseason.
Santa Monica, Calif., had a plan in place for Hilo’s leadoff hitter.
Min said Midel went 0 for 4 facing a few knuckleballs.
“That’s news,” Min said.
Bula Ahuna was the tough-luck loser, firing a three-hitter with two strikeouts, and he drove in his team’s only run.
Hilo (ages 11-12), which entered the game averaging 14 runs a game at states and regionals, managed eight hits but wasn’t able to score until the seventh.
“We had scoring opportunities and we couldn’t cash in,” Min said.
In the fifth, Hilo had a runner thrown out at home plate, a call Min didn’t agree with.
Stone Miyao led off the seventh with his single, his second hit of the game, moved to second on walk, took third on an error and scored on Ahuna’s sacrifice fly. With Kalani Marquez on first and two outs, Maui Ahuna lined out to left field.
“Everybody wanted to win,” Min said. “It’s kind of heart-breaking.”
Ahuna surrendered a solo home run in the second as Santa Monica took a 2-0 lead.
The All-Stars would have needed to win twice Sunday after losing to Santa Monica 8-7 on Saturday.
Hilo also lost in the West Zone championship game last year. Miyao and Maui Ahuna were the only returnees.
Hilo 000 000 1 — 1 8 1
Santa Monica 020 000 0 — 2 3 2
Colt West Zone: Riverside Red Wave dealt Hilo its first loss, 8-3 in San Jose, Calif.
Riverside scored five runs in the first against Edgar Barclay, who pitched 2 1/3 innings and took the loss.
Coach Eric Kurosawa said his ages 15-16 team had an ample amount of scoring opportunities but wasn’t unable to come up with two-out hits, including once with the bases loaded.
“That’s part of the game,” Kurosawa said. “Their pitcher was wild, but we couldn’t get to him.”
Daylen Calicdan delivered an RBI single in the first for Hilo, which matches up again with San Bruno, Calif., at 8 a.m. Monday Hawaii time. The winner gets Riverside, Calif., at 4:30 p.m. Monday. Hilo beat San Bruno 14-6 on Saturday.