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Hawaii’s Waipio Little League Wins West Region Championship, Advances to 2008 Little League Baseball World Series

Hawaii’s Waipio Little League Wins West Region Championship, Advances to 2008 Little League Baseball World Series

Little League World Series

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Aug. 10, 2008) – Waipio Little League collected only four hits in its 4-3 win over Paseo Verde Little League from Henderson, Nev., on Saturday night, but three of the hits cleared the fence as Hawaii earned its 10th berth in the Little League Baseball World Series by winning the West Region Championship at Al Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino, Calif.

Kahiau Winchester highlighted a three-run first inning for Hawaii by hitting a two-run home run. In the bottom of the fourth inning, with the scored now tied 3-3, Winchester again touched up losing pitcher Michael Blasko, hitting a solo home run to left field.

In the top of the third inning Paseo Little League had squared the game on James Anderson’s two-run home run to center field and a Griffin Kelly solo home run to center of relief pitcher and mound winner Tanner Tokunaga.

After surrendering the back-to-back homers to the first two batters he faced, Tokunaga settled down and shut down the Paseo Verde Little League bats. For the game the combination of starter Khade Paris and Tokunaga allowed five hits and struck out 11.

Blasko was equally dominant in the loss, throwing a four-hitter with 14 strikeouts. In a 4-1 win over Hawaii earlier in the regional tournament, Blasko recorded 15 strikeouts.

Waipio Little League finished the West Region tournament with a 5-1 record, and overall is 12-2 in 2008 Little League International Tournament play. Paseo Verde Little League also posted a 5-1 record in the regional tournament, and finished its tournament season with an overall record of 14-1.

Teams from Hawaii have participated in the Little League Baseball World Series nine times, and reached the World Series championship game twice. In 1988, Tai Ping Little League of Chinese Taipei defeated Pearl City, Hawaii, 10-0; and in 2005, West Oahu Little League from Ewa Beach, won the World Series Championship, defeating Curacao’s Pabao Little League, 7-6, in 7 innings.

This appearance by Hawaii will be the first representing the West Region. In previous appearances, Hawaii had played through the Northwest Region.

The other teams that will be participating in the 2008 Little League Baseball World Series are: Northwest Region Champion, Mill Creek (Wash.) Little League; Great Lakes Region Champion, Jeffersonville (Ind.) Little League; Canadian National Champion, White Rock-South Surrey (British Columbia) Little League; New England Region Champion, Shelton (Conn.) National Little League; Midwest Region Champion, Canyon Lake Little League, Rapid City, S.D.; Southeast Region Champion, Citrus Park Little League, Tampa, Fla.; Southwest Region Champion, South Lake Charles (La.) Little League; Mexico National Champion, Matamoros Little League; Caribbean Region Champion, Pabao Little League, Willemstad, Curacao; Middle East and Africa (MEA) Region Champion, Arabian American Little League, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; Asia-Pacific Region Champion, Southern Guam Little League, Yona, Guam; Latin America Region Champion, Coquivacoa Little League, Maracaibo, Venezuela; and Japan’s National Champion, Edogawa Minami Little League, Tokyo. 

The Little League Baseball World Series for 11-12-year-olds will be played in Williamsport, Aug. 15-24. Sixteen teams from around the world will take part. 

The World Series championship game can be seen live on ABC at 3:30 p.m., on Sunday, Aug. 24. ABC also will televise the International Championship Game on Saturday, Aug. 23 at 12:30 p.m., followed by the United States championship at 3 p.m.

The 2008 World Series will be the second operated under the eight-year television contract agreement with ESPN/ABC. Five games will be televised on ABC. This will be the third year that all of the World Series games will be televised in high definition. For the seventh year since the tournament expanded from eight to 16 teams in 2001, every team will have games on national television.

All 32 games of the World Series will be televised again this year. Fifteen World Series games will be televised on ESPN and 11 will be televised on ESPN2. 

In addition, the ESPN family of networks is carrying all eight of the U.S. Regional Championship finals in the Little League Baseball division. The U.S. regional finals have been televised by ESPN and ESPN2 every year since 1997. 

The final berth in the Little League Baseball World Series is expected to be decided Monday at  8 p.m. on ESPN, when the Mid-Atlantic Region Tournament in Bristol, Conn., is due to end.