The A team locks up rain-delayed Bronco title

HANAPEPE — A base-clearing triple in the seventh inning by Ekolu Ramos put the cap on Mililani A’s 17-6 win over ‘Aiea, yesterday morning.

Ramos, whose parents are both from Kaua‘i, finished 4-5 in hitting with 5 RBIs and scored once in the victory which gave the Hawai‘i State Bronco championship to the Mililani A Bronco All Star team.

That title earns the Mililani A squad a berth in the Bronco Zone Tournament at Valencia, Calif., which will take place July 31 through Aug. 3.

Pat Baniaga, one of the Kaua‘i Protect Our Nation’s Youth leaders, said the win also gives Mililani a sweep through the PONY ranks as earlier the Mililani Mustangs relegated the Lihu‘e Baseball League Mustang All Stars to the No. 2 spot in its championship game on O‘ahu.

On Tuesday night, Mililani Pony All Stars clinched that title in the bottom of the final inning of play, edging out the Kaua‘i Pony All Stars by just a single run in the championship game played at the Boys & Girls Club in Hilo.

The Bronco title on Kaua‘i came following an overnight delay when Monday afternoon rains forced suspension of play when the fields became unplayable in the top of the fourth inning.

At that point, Mililani was already ahead 11-4 with two outs and a runner, Gavin Shon, at second base.

But after being burned by Mililani A’s short-ball game, ‘Aiea went to a defensive pitching change to quicken its infield.

Brayton Sakai took the mound for ‘Aiea and following his first pitch, yesterday morning, the ‘Aiea boosters broke into cheers on a called strike.

That was shortlived as Mililani A continued to add to its score peppering the field with hits.

Overall, Mililani A finished with 23 hits to ‘Aiea’s 8 in the 17-6 win.

Mililani A first baseman Kody Yamada went 5-5 with 5 RBI and scored four times. He had the longest hits of the squad followed by J.C. DeJesus who finished 4-5, scoring four times with 3 RBI.

Ramos, whose triple in the seventh inning helped his numbers, capitalized on a just-replaced ‘Aiea rightfielder with a long ball that slipped past the fielder’s glove sending the batter to extra bases, and clearing the bases which were loaded.

Ramos finished 4-5, scoring once and notching 5 RBIs. Jamesson Madrid was 2-2 with 2 RBIs and scored twice in the win. Shon, who singled in the fourth, finished with 2 RBIs to round out the Mililani offense.

Cody Academia picked up the win on the mound with just three runs allowed on seven hits. He struck out six ‘Aiea batters, including the final out, and gave up no walks.

Earlier, Mililani A, after picking up six runs on seven hits in the first inning, faltered on the mound as its starting pitcher gave up three runs on just one hit before closing the door on the frame that included five walks and two strikeouts.

But ‘Aiea was undaunted as it came back following a marathon extra-inning loss to Maui on Sunday to edge out the Maui squad 3-2, Monday, before facing Mililani.

A good night’s rest would help them against the suspended Mililani A game, the fans believed.

Ace Racuya opened the fourth inning with a single followed by a defensive putout and a strikeout.

Spirits were still high in the ‘Aiea camp as Chason Kitayama singled and Sakai walked with two outs. But that scoring opportunity dimmed as the final batter flied out.

Chasing nine runs in the sixth, Aiea again put runners on the path when Jacob White singled with one away. Sakai came aboard on a single with two outs, but Mililani shut the door striking out the final batter.

In the seventh, ‘Aiea got Brock Honda aboard on a single just past second base. Tyler Fujimoto got aboard when a double play attempt went awry on a fielder’s choice. Racuya walked to load the bases but ‘Aiea could only get a run home when Keenan Lum drove Honda across the plate before the final batter went down swinging.

Racuya topped the ‘Aiea hitting with a 1-5 showing and scored twice. Lum finished 2-5 and scored once. Kitayama, 1-1, scored once and had an RBI to round out the ‘Aiea hitting leaders.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com

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