KAPA‘A — West O‘ahu third baseman Ricky Ahlo-Pinera hit two solo home runs, but it wasn’t enough as Waipio took an 8-2 win on seven hits, yesterday.
Ahlo-Pinera conked his first HR to the right-centerfield fence in the first inning and followed that with a floater that plopped just outside the leftfield fence line in the third inning.
His two HRs were two of the three hits allowed by Waipio hurler Iolana Akau who went the distance to pick up the win on the hill.
Akau finished with just two runs allowed on three hits while striking out seven West O‘ahu batters and walking none.
He got help from his team’s bats as Waipio exploded for five runs on four hits in the fifth inning, helped in part when three West O‘ahu players and a coach trooped out of the dugout in order to catch a flight.
According to Little League officials at the game, the players and coach had to catch a flight in order to get to another tournament.
Among those who had to leave was starting pitcher Jordaan Salas who was relieved by Kawika Teixeira in the fourth inning.
Despite the encouragement from first baseman Jaraad Salas, another of the departing players, West O‘ahu dropped in order in the fifth to set the stage for the Waipio lumberyard explosion.
Waipio answered Ahlo-Pinera’s first homer with one of its own as Caleb Duhay launched a 3-run shot in the opening inning.
Despite the 3-1 deficit, Jordaan struck out the side in order in the second and added another two strikeouts in the third inning before Ahlo-Pinera’s second solo shot that pulled West O‘ahu back into the game 3-2.
Before Teixeira took over, Jordaan finished with three hits allowed while striking out six Waipio batters in three innings and walking none. He also notched the third West O‘ahu hit.
Teixeira took out the side in the fourth inning with two strikeouts, but an appealed call by coaches on a Paris Khade foul shot down the first baseline gave a hint of things to come.
Duhay drew first on a walk to open the fifth for Waipio, advancing on a sacrifice bunt by Jordan Ulep and scoring on an RBI double by Akau that popped off one of the signs in left-centerfield.
Keelan Obedoza faced Teixeira and worked through a full count before making the RBI double connection to send Akau home.
Jedd Andrade followed with an RBI double on Teixeira’s first pitch to score Obedoza. A walk to Tanner Tokunaga and a bunt single off Kainoa Fong loaded the bases with just one out.
Khade followed in the order with a 2-RBI double to score Andrade and Tokunaga before West O‘ahu closed the frame.
With the West O‘ahu dugout down to two coaches and a single player on the bench, Ahlo-Pinera looked for his third fence-line ball, but was taken out on a high pop foul as Akau closed the door with strikeouts of the next two batters.
With the win, Waipio advances to meet Central Maui at the New Kapa‘a Ball Park starting at 4 p.m. The winner of that game will face Kaimuki, currently undefeated, in the final game, tomorrow afternoon starting at 4 p.m.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or firstname.lastname@example.org