Two teams from Central East Maui Little League split openers in the World Series over the weekend.
In the Little League Intermediate (12-13) 50/70 World Series in Livermore, California, CEM hung on Sunday to claim a dramatic 11-10 decision over Toms River (NJ) East.
The Maui team will face Danville (California) today at 9 a.m. HST – CEM is two wins away from a spot in Saturday’s US championship game. World Championships game is a day later.
Maui led 11–5 to go to the top of the seventh inning and won after Toms River East scored five times in the frame.
“rapidly,” Maui manager Chris Kish spoke of his heart palpitations soon after the win. “It was a very exciting game, many ups and downs, but luckily we were able to win in the end.”
Malu Rosaga scored 4 for 4 and scored three runs, Coltin Sargent scored 3 for 5 with two RBIs, and George Dafun Jr scored 4 for 2 to speed up Maui’s 17-hit attack. Scored 3 runs. Kapono Isley and Jaden Perry-Waikiki each had two hits each for Maui.
Maui took a 6-3 lead with a five-run fourth innings lead and added three runs in the fifth and two more runs in the sixth.
“The pitchers we faced were tough, they were trying to keep us off balance, but the batsmen were patient, they kept the balls in play, found holes,” Kish said. “Consistent batting has really helped us today.”
Kish emphasized the need to remain in the winning category in the double elimination tournament.
“There’s no rival here that’s going to be an easy game, all the teams here are quality,” They said. “So to have this win under our belt, it’s going to be a really big momentum boost for us going forward. Hopefully we can take this momentum to more wins in the future.”
The final innings tested the hearts of the faithful Maui.
“We’re never comfortable until the final of the innings,” Kish said. “But we have faith in the boys and once again, they were able to pull it out. When it comes to pushing, these are really tough guys.
“This is their tournament; This was his victory – to do so he cut off his back ends. We have faith in him and we congratulate him and love him dearly.”
In the Senior (15-16) League World Series in Eastley, SC, on Saturday, Central East Maui lost 12-2 in five innings to Fleet Park in Norfolk, Va.
CEM, who won the SLWS crown in 2019, got a hit each from Christian Domino, Duke Alloy, Jia Chang and Haley Dudoit in Saturday’s defeat.
In an elimination game on Tuesday at 4 a.m. HST, Maui plays the loser of today’s game between West University (Texas) and Islay (SC).
Maui needs three wins to reach Friday’s US championship game – the world title game is a day later.
* Robert Collias is at [email protected]