Game 14
Southeast
2 vs. West 10

Sunday, August 17, 2008
8:00PM ET


Volcanic Blast
Waipahu, Hawaii erupts for 10 runs against Tampa, Florida in semifinal clincher

By Dustin Picciolo

Tampa, Florida versus Waipahu, Hawaii in prime time was looked at by those in Little League circles to be the marquee matchup of the World Series to date.

Florida came in to the tournament on the strength of its pitching and defense. Hawaii arrived in South Williamsport on the heels of its timely hitting.

In the end, Sunday night, Hawaii’s hitting topped Florida’s pitching.

The Waipio Little League All-Stars defeated the Citrus Park Little League All-Stars 10-2 in front of 11,850 at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.

With the win, Hawaii improved to 2-0 in Pool B play and assured itself of a spot in a United States semi-final game either Wednesday or Thursday.

The West champs had to battle back from a 2-0 deficit after the first half inning. Hawaii’s Khade Paris walked three, allowed a single, and unleashed four wild pitches to fall into the two-run hole.

Things were looking good early for Tampa and starter Kevin Merrell, who limited Hawaii to one hit in the first two innings. With one out and runners on first and second in the bottom of the first, left fielder Darren Miller kept Hawaii scoreless by robbing Pikai Winchester of an extra-base hit.

But then in the third, Hawaii stormed back with four runs, including the go-ahead tally on Trevor Ling’s sacrifice fly.

The West then put the game away with two runs in the fourth and four more in the fifth on Tanner Tokunaga’s grand slam.

“He just hung his curveball and I hit it good,” Tokunaga said. “It just busted the game open.”

Hawaii’s pitching staff settled down after the two-run first. Tanner Tokunaga tossed 1.1 scoreless innings, and Ling came on to throw three scoreless innings to earn the victory. In the sixth, Christian Donahue recorded two outs and then had two strikes on Darren Miller before Hawaii Manager Timo Donahue pulled his son in favor of Kainoa Fong. Fong got Miller swinging on his first pitch to end the game.

“I was really nervous,” Ling said. “I tried taking deep breaths to calm me down.”

It seemed to work, as Ling ended the night with four strikeouts and just one walk, looking unhittable at times.

On a night that began looking good for Tampa, it became a night of frustration. Hawaii was able to regain control of their pitchers, and their bats came alive to put up 10 runs.

“That’s a good team, they’re a very good team,” said Tampa Manager Joe McGuire.

When speaking of his own team, McGuire said, “I have told them in the past when they get a lead they kind of put it on cruise control, and they did that today.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow, Hawaii’s Timo Donahue said, “We are going to try and conserve pitching.”


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