Hawaii the one in
The scene is set for the U.S. final after West Oahu
Little League beat Lafayette 2-0.
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
“I knew if [Conrad] made one mistake, we’d put the bat
on him and score,” said Aliviado.
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
“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
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.