Waipi'o Little League loses West opener, 1-0
By George Alfano
Special to The Advertiser
By George Alfano
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — In yesterday's opening game, Waipi'o Little League showed the pitching and defense that normally would be successful in Western Regional Tournament play.
Getting hits against Arizona's Shaun Chase proved entirely more difficult.
Chase allowed only a first-inning double to Tyler Tokunaga in leading Arizona representative Phoenix Ahwatukee to a 1-0 victory in the opening game of the Western Regional Tournament.
It was the first of four games in pool play of the six-team tournament for 11- to 12-year-olds. The top four teams will advance to the semifinals on Thursday.
Marcus Yoshii might have pitched even better than Chase, striking out 11 while displaying a great fastball and crafty use of a changeup.
The southpaw had only walked one batter in the first five innings, but he walked Scott Kingery to open the bottom of the sixth. After striking out Chase for the third time in the game, Yoshii walked David Hulls. Sam Kingery followed with a ground-rule double that bounced over the fence to drive home his twin brother.
"When the ball dropped, I wasn't sure where it was," said Ahwatukee manager Tom Kingery, father of the twins. "Scott had to hold up because he thought the ball might be caught, and then I waved them in before I realized the ball had bounced over the fence."
Yoshii allowed six hits, but two were infield hits. Waipi'o turned double plays to end the second and third inning, and Ahwatukee had only one runner reach third base in the first five innings.
"We had heard about the lefty (Yoshii) and were hoping they would save him for Southern California (tonight's opponent for Waipi'o)," Kingery said. "I told our kids to be more patient in the sixth inning."
Hawai'i's representative was shifted to the West Region from the Northwest Region this season. Southern California and Arizona typically have strong teams and will present a challenge to Waipi'o.
"It was a pitchers' duel, and both pitchers kept the hitters off balance," said Waipi'o coach Timo Donahue, who will send Nicholas Ogasawara to the mound against Southern California tonight.
"Chase had good command of his fastball, and he had us chasing his breaking pitches."
The West Region winner advances to the World Series in Williamsport, Pa., where West O'ahu won the title last year.
WAIPI'O 000 000—0 1 0
AHWATUKEE AMERICAN 000 001—1 6 0
Marcus Yoshii and Westin Fabro. Shaun Chase and Ryan Modi. WP—Shaun Chase. LP—Marcus Yoshii.
Leading hitters: Waipi'o—Tyler Tokunaga double.