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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, August 24, 2003

Walk-off homer boosts Hilo into Ripken final

By Mary Beth Kozak
Special to The Advertiser

Hilo's Jeremy Crivello is greeted at home plate after hitting a two-run homer in the sixth inning that beat West Linn, Ore.

Aisha Sueda, the only girl competing in this year's Cal Ripken World Series, pitched a complete game to help Hilo to a 5-3 victory over West Linn, Ore., in the United States Championship game.

Photos by Brian Krista • Special to The Advertiser

ABERDEEN, Md. — Jeremy Crivello's walk-off two-run homer and Aisha Sueda's complete-game pitching performance lifted Hilo past West Linn, Ore., 5-3, and into today's championship game of the Cal Ripken World Series for 12-year-olds.

Hilo (6-0), winner of the United States Championship meets International champion Mexico (6-0) at 10 a.m. Hawai'i time. The game is scheduled to be shown live on Fox Sports Net.

Yesterday, Hilo and West Linn were tied at 3 going into the bottom of the sixth inning at Ripken Stadium.

Blaine Pilayo singled to center, then after a strikeout and a popout, Crivello hit a rocket over the wall in right field.

"I wanted a home run," Crivello said. "I just got mad at the pitcher so I would hit the ball."

Hilo almost let this one slip away as its hitters struggled for the first time in the series. Known for its speed around the bases, Hilo barely had anyone on base to demonstrate it yesterday.

Oregon's pitcher, Ryan Barnes, had a lot to do with that. He pitched 5á innings allowing six hits, six walks while striking out five.

Hilo hitters were quiet throughout the first four innings. West Linn scored two runs in the top of the first inning against Sueda, the only girl playing in the series.

Hilo answered back with one run in the bottom of the first inning. A pitch from Barnes hit the leadoff hitter, Aaron Soong. Kolten Wong hit a single to right field and Soong scored on an error by second baseman Jack Simon.

Barnes held Hilo scoreless for three innings. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Samson Manu-Olevao hit a two-run single to center field to tie the game at 3.

Crivello finished 2-for-3 and had a single along with his game-winning homer.

Sueda gave up eight hits, three earned runs and struck out three.

Cal Ripken Jr. and officials from the Babe Ruth League honored several Hilo players after the game.

Crivello was named the United States batting champion with a .733 average throughout the series and was also named the United States Most Outstanding Player.

Catcher Jaycen Cann-Ferreira, Crivello (first baseman), Sueda (second baseman) and utility player Kolten Wong, son of Hilo coach Kaha Wong, were named to the United States All-World Series Team.

Named to the United States All-Defensive Team were Sueda, Crivello and Wong.

Wong, an outfielder, was also honored with the Sportsmanship Award for the American Division.

Mexico advanced to the finals by beating Australia 8-1 yesterday.

Mexico leads the series in pitching with a team era of 0.69. Hilo leads the series with a .449 team batting average.

"We got to get our bats going and get on base," said Kaha Wong. "If we do that, nobody can stop us, but we have to get on base to do that.

Wong plans to use Crivello as his starting pitcher today. Crivello is 2-0, including a victory over Lexington, Ky., in the quarterfinals on Friday.

"Right now I am confident of our pitching, we got Jeremy (Crivello) back tomorrow," Wong said.

If the Cal Ripken Hilo team wins today, they would join Hilo's Little League Seniors (ages 14-16) as World Series champions this summer.

The Hilo Senior League All-Stars beat Central Chesterfield, Va., 16-8, to win the World Series in Bangor, Maine, earlier this month.

Kaha Wong and Big Island Cal Ripken president Steve Fukunaga said the Hilo team has become a fan favorite in Aberdeen.

"There was at least 3,000 people (in the stands), and they all went nuts when Jeremy hit the home run," Wong said. "All the people are following us. They like the way we play."

  • WEST LINN, ORE. 200 100—3 8 7
  • HILO, HAWAI'I 100 022—5 6 8

Ryan Barnes and Mitchell Halverson. Aisha Sueda and Jaycen Cann-Ferriera. W—Sueda. L—Barnes.
Leading hitters: West Linn—Eliot Smith 2-3. Hilo—Jeremy Crivello 2-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, 2 run-homer.