Waipio takes Huntington Beach 4-1 to win Western Regional Little League Championship
By Jon D. Gaede, BVN Sports –
In front of 10,000 fans at Al Houghton Stadium and a live ESPN national television audience, Hawaii’s little boys of summer outslugged the boys from Huntington Beach to win the Westerrn Regional Little League championship.
The victorious team from Waipaho, Hawaii heads to Williamsport for the third time. Waipio was here as recently as 2008, as the former sugar plantation town went on to beat Matamoros Mexico, 12-3 and win the Little League World Series.
For many years, the State of Hawaii has sent baseball teams from the islands to compete at San Bernardino’s Al Houghton Stadium. They fly the five hour air journey over the Pacific and eventually make camp at our modest Hilton, San Bernardino.
For many of the teams who have traveled to compete here over the years, the pressure to win can become the only focus. Many wilt in the heat, days before ESPN cameras arrive. For Hawaiian players, it’s understood that they play for their entire state, however, doesn’t seem to phase them.
There are many things to learn from the Hawaiian players and their families who travel with them. It is no surprise that they are the most generous and favored among the teams they compete against, even the ones they beat. They spend much of their time around the Hilton pool, cooking for all comers and spending quality family time. Win or lose, they keep smiling.
For Huntington Beach, the 4th inning proved to be their undoing. After repeated throwing errors and wild pitches, Hawaii took advantage with a triple off the bat of Kaimana Bartolome, to extend the lead to 4-1 for Waipio.
Pitcher Noah Shackles struckout nine batters on only four hits. For the second time in three years, a team from Waipahu is headed to the Little League World Series.
Joining them will be teams from Panama, Chinease Taipei, Japan, Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico.
ABC television will broadcast the first game from Williamsport on Saturday, live at 12:00 vs U.S. opponent, Columbus, Georgia.
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