Lihu‘e’s domination was marred only by a sixth-inning RBI from Kapa‘a’s James Padre in Sunday’s Pony Baseball single elimination tournament.
Lihu‘e punched its ticket for tomorrow’s round of games with a 4-1 victory, losing the shutout late in the game when B.J. Aiwohi doubled and then score on Padre’s singe.
Ron Kouchi, a Lihu‘e parent, said though there are a lot of possible scenarios, the win opens the door for Lihu‘e to take everything in tomorrow’s championship showdown with Koloa.
Strong play earlier in the year earned them regular season title and a first-round bye in the postseason tournament.
Owning the best record also gives Lihu‘e first picks in building an all-star team from Kaua‘i to travel to the statewide tournament later in the summer.
League commissioner Dondi Viquelia said for the first time this year, Kaua‘i can send two teams to the state playoffs, hence the tournament where the winner assembles another all-star team.
The addition of the second all-star team allows a lot more Kaua‘i players to experience the thrill and intensity of tournament play against off-island teams, as well as the comeraderie and sportsmanship of Little League.
Lihu‘e jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the second inning when Egan Kouchi got plunked by a pitch and scored on an RBI single by Lanning Rice-Kashima, who later crossed home on sacrifice bunt by Dustin Julian.
Lihu‘e added a pair of insurance runs in the fourth frame when pitcher Rysan Sakamoto doubled following a single from Julian, setting the stage in for a two-run single from Dalston Miyasato.
The runs proved to be more than enough as the Lihu‘e defense nearly held Kapa‘a scoreless the rest of the way.
Lihu‘e will face Koloa, who advanced with an extra-inning win over Kekaha Sunday in Kekaha.
The championship game is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Vidinha Stadium.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or email@example.com.