|Hawaii on its own
Northwest champs from Ewa Beach, Hawaii claim United
States championship, beating the West’s Vista,
Former pro golfer and one-time track-and-field Olympic
Gold Medal winner Babe Didrikson Zaharias once said,
“Winning has always meant much to me, but winning
friends has meant the most.”
Players from Vista, California and Ewa Beach, Hawaii won
each other over as friends rather quickly while
competing in their respective regional tournaments at
Little League’s western headquarters in San Bernardino,
They swam together in the same pool, played each other
in ping pong and ate side by side at the lunch and
dinner tables. The kids then hopped on the same plane to
Williamsport after Vista took the West region crown and
Ewa Beach the Northwest championship.
It was more of the same in the International Grove for
the first eight days of the Little League Baseball World
It was a different story on Day 9.
The two teams played a little game of baseball, meeting
between the lines to find out who had what it takes to
be coined United States Champion. But no need to worry,
locking horns against one another in the U.S. title game
did not have an effect on their friendships.
“We’ve been around them for so long, you’re bound to
make some friends,” said Vista manager Marty Miller.
“The coaching staff is friendly and the players are
Everyone will undoubtedly go on as friends, regardless
of the fact that there had to be a winner. That winner
is Hawaii, which picked up a 6-1 victory in front of
20,794 fans at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.
It was a four-run fourth inning and an exclamation-point
two-run homer by Vonn Fe’ao in the fifth that gave
Hawaii just its second trip to the World Series
Championship game in the state’s history.
In 1988, a Pearl City team lost 10-0 to a Chinese Taipei
club out of the Asia region.
“It’s just great to be a champion,” said Hawaii skipper
Layton Aliviado. “I have faith in these boys. We came
here and said our prayers. These boys, they have talent.
They are awesome players and are good athletes.”
Aliviado was speaking on behalf of Alaka’i Aglipay,
Sheyne Baniaga, Quentin Guevara and Fe’ao, all of whom
attended the post-game press conference but hardly
uttered a word.
“We don’t show it too much, but we’re happy,” Aliviado
said to a chorus of laughter from the media contingent.
game was scoreless through three and half innings before
Hawaii cracked it open with the four runs in the bottom
of the fourth, sending 10 to the plate while recording
just one hit.
Baniaga knocked in the first run with a single to left
that scored Kini Enos, who led off the inning with an
infield single to the left side and advanced to second
on a wild pitch.
With the bases loaded two batters later, pinch hitter
Ethan Javier worked a walk to push across the second
run. With the bases full again, Ty Tirpak bounced one to
pitcher Nathan Lewis, who overthrew the catcher on a
force attempt, making the score 3-0. Following a Zachary
Ranit strikeout, Layson Aliviado walked to push across
the fourth run.
“It was tough early on,” Aliviado said of the first
three innings. “They kept us off balance. We just
adjusted and did well. We were lucky.”
Miller blamed the slow start to nerves.
“I think everybody was nervous,” he said. “We had three
shutout innings on both sides.”
The loss for the Vista boys was their first in all-star
tournament play, snapping a 24-game winning streak that
began with a 13-4 triumph over Oceanside American (a
Little League World Series participant in 2001) in their
first game of the district tournament.
“It is a bitter pill to swallow,” Miller said.
“Eventually ‘perfect’ is pretty hard to maintain. You
don’t win any games at this level with one run.”
Vista had its chance to climb out of the hole with one
out in the fourth, when it loaded the bases on a pair of
walks and a hit batsman. Kalen Pimentel, who had already
hit a pair of grand slams in pool play, stepped up
against Fe’ao, who was summoned to replace starter
Aglipay a batter earlier.
The rally ended quickly, however, when Pimentel popped
out to shortstop Enos and an eager special pinch runner
Dylan Demeyer was doubled off second for the
“You can’t expect Kalen to come through with a home run
every time,” Miller said. “He’s 12 years old.”
Daniel Gibney had made it 4-1 earlier in the inning
after hitting a leadoff triple down the right field line
and scoring on a wild pitch.
Aglipay had allowed just one hit over his first four
innings of work. He was chased in the fifth after
surrendering Gibney’s leadoff triple, striking out Aaron
Kim and issuing two walks.
Fe’ao relieved Aglipay with a 2-0 count on Lewis, and
hit the Vista hurler on the arm to load the bases. He
then got Pimentel to chase the first pitch he saw.
“We just kept it low and outside and he got under it,”
Added Miller: “(Kalen) normally doesn’t swing at the
first pitch. He was way out in front of it.”
Aglipay earned the win, allowing one run on two hits and
five walks in 4.1 innings. He fanned six.
After Fe’ao recorded the final two outs of Vista’s
fifth, Aliviado summoned Guevara to close it out in the
Geuvara, who is scheduled to pitch in Sunday’s Word
Series Championship, struck out Royce Copeland for the
first out. Following a Reed Reznicek walk, he got Johnny
Dee to ground out to first baseman Layson Aliviado. The
lefty then induced Gibney to ground out to second
baseman Baniaga for the final out.
© 2005, Little League Baseball
Please direct comments about this website to