A bad fifth and sixth innings proved too much for the Lihu‘e Baseball League Mustang All Stars at the state Mustang championship tournament.
After rallying from a 13-3 loss to Mililani in the quarterfinals, Sunday, the LBL Mustang All Stars rebounded with an 8-5 win against No. 2 ‘Ewa Beach. That gave them another shot at Mililani in the championship game on Monday.
Mililani won 16-9.
That dual loss to No. 1 Mililani gave the LBL Mustangs second place at the state Mustang championships played at the Central O‘ahu Regional Park.
“Our boys played hard and represented Kaua‘i very well,” said LBL coach Milton Koga in an e-mail. “I’m very proud of the accomplishment that they have achieved.”
Koga said all of the players’ accomplishments, however, would not have been possible without the parents’ support that brought the team to its level of success.
Kurt Rapozo set the pace for the LBL Mustangs in the championship game where Lihu‘e chalked up 10 hits for its nine runs.
Rapozo, going 2-3 in the box, doubled and singled and scored twice. He was joined by Micah Layosa, 1-4 with an RBI on his 2-run home run. John Dumlao was a perfect 1-1 and had two RBIs in the effort.
Mililani got 18 hits for its 16 runs led by A. Tanner finishing a perfect 5-5 with 3 singles, a double and a triple with four RBIs.
“Lihu‘e was neck-and-neck with Mililani for most of the game,” said Sam Koga, the LBL scorekeeper, in an e-mail. “Even though Lihu‘e never took the lead in the game, the players were able to stay within one, or two runs behind until the bad innings when Lihu‘e was too far behind to catch up.”
Earlier in the day, Shane Ogata went four innings on the mound and finished 2-3 with two singles and scored twice as Lihu‘e edged past ‘Ewa Beach to advance to the championship game against Mililani.
In the ‘Ewa Beach matchup, Layosa was a perfect 1-1 with three RBI and scoring once. Tyler Smith finished 2-4 with a pair of singles and a double and scored three times in that win.
Cal Koga, who suffered the loss against Mililani in four innings of work on the mound, closed for Ogata in the ‘Ewa Beach contest.
“We didn’t take home the state title, but the boys and Jenessa Magahnoy-Louis played a great tournament,” Sam said. “They showed a lot of people that Kaua‘i can compete.”
Sam said en route to O‘ahu and the state tournament, the team had visions of repeating Kaua‘i High School baseball team’s performance.
But that didn’t happen as Lihu‘e’s only two losses in the tournament came at the hands of the eventual Mustang state champion Mililani team.
Players on the Lihu‘e Mustang All Star team include Magahnoy-Louis, Kobey Dias, Smith, Keenan Kaluahine-Arroyo, Mason Mendoza, La‘akea Iseri-Carvalho, Layosa, Ogata, Rapozo, Kelii Efhan, Cal Koga, Dumlao, Douglas Miyasato and Keegan “KC” Loo.
Joining Milton are Manager Coach Ryan Koga and Business Manager Ryden “Roach” Domingsel.
The Lihu‘e Baseball League Bronco All Stars join the West Kaua‘i Bronco All Stars when West Kaua‘i hosts the state Bronco tournament starting Friday at the Hanapepe Stadium.