Hawaii making their mark on mainland
The Northwest champs from Waipahu, Hawaii cracked open the door for their opponents in the opener of the 56th Little League World Series.
Then, they quickly shut it.
After allowing two runs in the top half of the fifth inning to tie the score at 2-2, Hawaii won Game One of the Series on Travis Jones’ walk-off home run in the bottom of the sixth.
Jones lined a 0-2 pitch from Massachusetts pitcher Frank Flynn over the left-centerfield wall.
“I was looking for a pitch to hit,” he said. “I just wanted to get on base.”
Hawaii pitcher Kurt Tanabe worked out of trouble all game, allowing runners to reach scoring position in the second, third, fourth, and fifth innings.
In the third, he walked the first two batters he faced. But Andy Fallon popped out on a sacrifice bunt attempt, Gordie Lockbaun struck out swinging, and Ben Landers was thrown out at the plate trying to score from 2nd base on a wild pitch.
The right-hander surrendered just the two runs in the fifth.
“When you’re pitching, you cannot let the runs get to you,” Tanabe said.
“He gets stronger at the end of the game,” added his father and coach Clyde Tanabe. “He said he still had some throws left in his arm. I’ve been sticking with him all year.
“And he has been doing it all year, doing it when he chips are down.”
Tanabe walked five, but struck out 12 Massachusetts hitters.
“I’m kind of wild,” he said jokingly.
In the New England fifth, Gordie Lockbaum doubled home pinch runner
Micah Golshirazian to pull Massachusetts within one. After an intentional walk to Frank Flynn, Keith Landers singled home Joe Petry.
“When they scored the two runs, I told him to just hold them down,” Coach Tanabe said. “I was confident we would somehow score a run.”
Tanabe helped himself out, breaking a scoreless tie in the fourth. He led off the frame with a solo home run to center off Flynn. Hawaii added their second run four batters later on Cory Yuh’s RBI single up the middle.
“I got lucky,” Tanabe said.
Hawaii next plays Texas Monday afternoon at Lamade Stadium. Massachusetts plays
Missouri Saturday night at Volunteer Stadium.
“I think they’ll come back,” Coach Tanabe said of New England. “They are solid. I wouldn’t be surprised if they win their next two games. I wouldn’t want to play them now.”