LIHU‘E — Hanapepe came up with three runs in the sixth inning to clinch Da Bash II Bronco title with a 5-3 win over the Windward Astros Monday.
“They were chasing all the way,” said Warren Koga, one of the Lihu‘e Baseball League tournament directors. “But they never gave up.”
“Hanapepe played awesome,” Windward Astros head coach Kurt Mukai said in accepting the second place trophy.
Windward jumped out to an early lead, scoring two runs in the opening frame of the Bronco championship game, and the Hanapepe Cubs were kept out of the scorebooks until the third inning when D.J. Kilar, walking to first, crossed the plate on a Bryson Tacata bang.
Jordan Teets answered for Windward in the fourth frame, getting first on a single that lined between second and short, and scoring off a hit by Reigy Alo-Chang for the 3-1 lead.
But Hanapepe clawed back as Dallas Correa scored off a Kyle Delima RBI single. Delima, in an attempt at trying to stretch the play, was cut down at second base.
That left Hanapepe still chasing a run, and defensive adjustments saw the Cubs rotate Correa off the mound with Shylen Keuma who went the rest of the game.
Hanapepe turned the tables in the sixth inning as Keuma scored the first of three runs on a Chase Parongao hit with no outs.
Delima delivered his second RBI of the game as Correa crossed for the second time to force a pitching change for the Astros.
Parongao crossed for the final run on a sacrifice play by the Cubs.
But the Astros were not out and with two outs, Hekili Graycochea posed a Windward threat by advancing as far as third base before the final batter was caught looking.
“Every team we played has been solid,” Mukai said. “It makes coming this far even more special.”
Earlier, the Astros had tangled with the Lihu‘e Mariners to a 1-1 deadlock and advanced by a coin toss. That earned them a contest with the Lihu‘e Rangers who had been battling tough throughout the tournament. The Astros earned the right to the championship berth with a 4-2 win over the Rangers, the Rangers managing their two runs on a double by Jensen Koga late in their game.
“These three days have been outstanding,” Mukai said. “Unfortunately, for seven of these kids, they’ve been playing together since they were 10 years old, and after this, they’ll be moving on to the next level. But I wish we could come back.”
Hanapepe Cubs’ coach Mark Moriwake said the team had a great time. “It was plenty fun, and we had good exciting games.”
Earlier, the Cubs upset top-seeded Kekaha to earn the championship berth, a feat they repeated by coming from behind to clinch the Bronco title.
The Maui Dodgers broke open a 2-2 deadlock against the Lihu‘e Devil Rays to clinch the Mustang title 3-2 in a contest that was played earlier in the morning.
Koga and incoming LBL president Tom Vallatini served as tournament directors with Ross Kagawa serving as the arbitrator.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or firstname.lastname@example.org.