Stars shine in diamond dust

LIHU’E — A pitch-off had to settle the winners for the pitching phase of the Kaua’i Police Activities League (K-PAL) Pitch, Hit and Run competition Saturday.

In the 11-12 year old competition, a four-way tie for the lead developed between Brycen Hiranaka, Micah Chow, Trey Smith and Kalechi Young as the aspiring ball hurlers each finished the competition by hitting three targets apiece to earn 225 points.

The ensuing pitch-off saw Trey Smith earn the rights to the trophy at the Saturday event that coincided with the opening of the Lihu’e Baseball League’s Mustang and Bronco season at the Lihu’e County Park.

Matthew Ebuerig, consistently in the shadow of the leaders through the three phases of competition, emerged the overall winner of that age group with a total of 872 points.

Ebuerig placed second in the pitching with two targets hit, second in hitting with a bang of 114 feet, 2 inches, and second in the running competition with a time of 7.56.

Runners-up in the 11-12 year division were Travis Koga and Young, who each finished with 823 points apiece, Koga topping the hitting competition with a bang that sailed 148 feet, 8 inches.

Nick Penzetta topped the pitching and running competition en route to taking top honors in the 7-8 year division on a total of 668 points.

Penzetta hit three targets in the pitching phase and clocked 8.31 in the running phase.

Micah Layosa captured second place in that age group on a 584-point finish, ending in third place in the pitching phase, but soaring back to a first finish in the hitting phase with a stick that went 61 feet 9 inches, and clocking second in the running phase on an 8.38 run.

Lanakila Wilson took third in that age group with 514 points.

Lucas Gushikuma dominated the action in the 9-10 year division by accumulating 948 points on his top finishes in the pitching and running phases.

Gushikuma hit five targets, the best performance of the day, for 375 points in pitching before clocking in a 7.60 performance in the running phase.

Courtney Laamea topped the hitting phase with a 106 feet 3 inches to finish second in that age group with 884 points.

Reggie McFadden rounded out the leaders in that age group with 715 points for third place.

Mark Ozaki, K-PAL director, was pleased with the support he got from his staff and the staff from the LBL.

Ozaki said that the top two winners from each age group will qualify for the state competition which will be held on Maui later this year.

He is already trying to think of a way to have Kaua’i represented with an all-star squad.

“But that takes money,” Ozaki said. “I guess that means we’ll start fund-raising, again.”

The Pitch, Hit and Run competition is a national program under the Major League Baseball umbrella with national sponsorship by Pepsi.

Boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 14 have the opportunity to showcase their talents in pitching, hitting and running with winners advancing through four levels of competition culminating with the National Finals at the MLB All-Star Game.

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