In the first Little League World Series game since 2019 due to a COVID-induced hiatus, the Honolulu Little League team topped Connecticut’s Manchester Little League 9-1 on Thursday.
Honolulu starter Ryan Keanu gave up a leadoff home run to Connecticut pitcher Arlen Peyman, but that proved to be all he’d give up in his winning outing. Keanu went the distance to get the win, surrendering two hits with no walks to go with seven strikeouts.
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Honolulu scored four runs in both the second and fourth innings, led by Kekoa Payanal’s game-high two hits as “Da Boys” totaled nine hits as a team. Kaikea Patoc-Young and Chasen Uyetake also added a game-high two RBI each.
“It’s exactly how our team is built. We have a lot of great hitters on this team. Anyone can get hot and luckily today a lot of them did,” Honolulu manager Bud Sardinha said during the postgame press conference.
Peyman took the loss for Connecticut after surrendering seven runs (four earned) in 3.1 innings pitched with six strikeouts and no walks.
In what was perhaps a case first-game jitters in Williamsport, both teams committed four errors each.
Next up for Honolulu Little League is a winners bracket game on Sunday against Nebraska. First pitch between HLL and Nebraska is set for 5 a.m. HST on Sunday. The game will be televised live on ESPN.