South Williamsport, PA — The Central East Maui Little League team has done it again.
With their third victory, the Hawaii state champs have advanced to the United States Final of the Little league Word Series.
Reporter Joe Garrison has more from South Williamsport Pennsylvania.
In a battle of undefeated teams, the state champions of Hawaii defeated the boys from Virginia by the score of twelve to nine.
Afterwards I asked the winners what it’s like to know that they will now represent their state in the United States Championship game.
“It is very exciting to know that we are two games away from the World Series,” said Hawaii First Baseman Nakea Kahalehau. “But we have to focus on our goal of getting into the World Series.”
“I think there is pressure on us, but not as much pressure as on the other team because they will not have a many pitchers as us,” said Hawaii Shortstop and Pitcher Bransyn Hong.
“I think we will have to work on our defense after tonight,” said Hawaii Manager Brad Lung. “A little frustrated with the defense, but it is what it is. The boys play with heart, they hung in there. It is very hard to have a lead like that and give it away. And say on that field and battle back so we are extremely proud of them.”
High up on the hill behind Lamade Stadium, it was smiles all around for Team Hawaii.
Players and parents say they can’t wait to play in the United States championship game.
“I think our chances are pretty good because we played both of the teams,” said Hawaii Outfielder Logan Kuloloia. “We know what we are up against.”
“I think that we know that we are not safe yet,” said Logan’s Mother Kimberly Kuloloia. “And we had better keep working hard. I think the boys on this team are definitely able to stay calm and know what they want and able to work together to achieve that.”
Hawaii’s opponent will be the winner of the game between Virginia and Louisiana.
The winner of that game will move on to the World Championship.
Central East Maui advanced to the Little League World Series United States Championship Game with a 12-9 win over Virginia Wednesday in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Hawaii took an early 5-0 lead after putting the pressure on Virginia’s defense right out of the gate, forcing the team from South Siding into multiple fielding errors.
Virginia also had an offensive surge in the first inning, pulling the game back to 6-2.
In the third inning, momentum changed hands.
Hawaii extended its lead to 8-2 and seemingly put the game out of reach before South Riding found its offense and put the game back on level terms at 8-8 in a six-run inning.
With the game on the line, the side out of Wailuku, Maui kept its cool and began the fourth inning with a leadoff double before Shiloh Gilliland came up big with an RBI-single to put Hawaii up 9-8.
After holding Virginia scoreless in the bottom of the fourth inning, Hawaii got back in the batter’s box at the top of the fifth with Jaren Pascual scoring two runners off a two-RBI double. A fielding error on a routine ground ball put the game out of reach at 12-8 just moments later.
With the win, Hawaii will take on the winner of Virginia vs. Louisiana on Saturday in the U.S. Championship Game. First pitch is set for 9:30 a.m. HST.