Game 28
Northwest
2 vs. Southwest 0

Thursday, August 25, 2005
7:30PM ET
Lamade Stadium

 

Hawaii the one in semifinal luau
The scene is set for the U.S. final after West Oahu Little League beat Lafayette 2-0.

By Allie Weinberger

Hawaii may have gotten a little more than it bargained for in Thursday night’s 2-0 United States semifinal win over Lafayette Little League.

The Aloha State sluggers entered the semifinal game 3-0, outscoring their three previous opponents 24-4. Louisiana, on the other hand, came into tonight’s game as the 2-1 Pool B runner-up.

Pitcher Jace Conrad, who let up seven runs in 1.2 innings in his previous Little League Baseball World Series outing, got the nod to start on the hill for Lafayette. He faced 1-0 Myron “Kini” Enos (1.06 ERA).

And what ensued was a Little League dogfight.

“I’m real proud of my son,” said Southwest manager Mike Conrad. “He felt he had to try to redeem himself. He had good stuff tonight.”

The young Conrad had great stuff, indeed. The pitcher threw all five innings and faced just 19 batters, striking out six and allowing just one hit – a two-run shot over the left-center field fence in the fourth.

“That kid can pitch. He’s awesome,” West Oahu manager Layton Aliviado said of the Louisiana hurler. “The velocity, mixing up the pitches – he did a good job.”

Hawaii had just three base runners through the first three innings, two off Tyler Douglas errors and one off a third-inning walk. Thursday night’s game against the Southwest champs marked the first time in 2005 Series play that Hawaii hadn’t crossed home plate in the first inning, much less been held hitless through three.

“Right now, it’s all elimination time,” said Aliviado. “It was nerves. Either we win or we go home.”

Hawaii’s bats finally woke up in the fourth, when shortstop Sheyne “Bubbles” Baniaga drove a 1-1 offering from Conrad over the outfield hedges 225 feet from home. The two-run blast scored Alaka’i Aglipay, who drew a leadoff walk.

“I knew if [Conrad] made one mistake, we’d put the bat on him and score,” said Aliviado.

The Northwest skipper said he knew it was gone as soon as the ball was hit. He could feel it.

“When the home run came, it kinda gave us a release,” he said. “Because we didn’t know what we were gonna do [if we didn’t score].”

The theme from “Rocky” blasted through the Lamade Stadium loudspeakers as Hawaii took the field to face a desperate Louisiana team in the top of the sixth. And though they gave the Northwest champs a run for their pooka shells, not even a one-hitter could stop the Hawaiian hotshots.

“I tip my hat to Ewa Beach,” said Conrad. “I look for [the U.S. final] to be a very tight game.”

Quentin Guevara (1-0, 2.00 ERA) toed the rubber to face Conrad for the start of the sixth. Guevara struck out the opposing hurler and shortstop Tyler Douglas before getting Connor Toups to ground out to second and end Louisiana’s tournament run.

“I figured this team – they’re fastball hitters. We’d give them a lefty,” said the West Oahu manager.

“I was nervous,” said Guevara, who recorded his first Series save. “I just tried not to think about being nervous.”

Lafayette had runners in scoring position with two outs in the third and the fifth innings, but was unable to convert on either opportunity.

“Timely hitting has been our nemesis in this tournament,” said the Southwest skipper.

Enos pitched five innings of solid, five-hit baseball for Hawaii, striking out eight of 20 batters.

“Kini did a good job keeping them off and putting them off-balance,” said Aliviado.

“It was good to have a close game and see these boys fight back and win the battle,” he added. “Now, let’s go have fun and order a pizza or something.”

Hawaii will take on the U.S. West champs from Vista, California Saturday at 3:30 p.m. for the right to advance to the World Series Championship game against the winner of Saturday night’s battle between defending World Series champion Curacao and Pool D champion Japan.


Game Photos

 

Photography by Jim Connolley & Kevin Connolley


© 2005, Little League Baseball Incorporated
Please direct comments about this website to webmaster@littleleague.org.