LBL Brewers, Maui Ha‘aheo wrap up Da Bash

LIHU‘E — Gunner Vallatini allowed one run on five hits to lead the Lihu‘e Baseball League Bronco Brewers to a 4-2 win over the LBL Bronco Yankees and the division title of the 7th Annual LBL Da Bash, Monday at the Lihu‘e County Park.

Vallatini, getting relief in the seventh frame, finished by striking out five Yankees while walking two for the win.

Ha‘aheo Mustangs, getting past the LBL Mustang Yankees in the semifinals, held off a strong comeback by the Kapolei Angels to clinch the Mustang division with a 13-12 edge in the seventh inning.

“They’re a tough team,” said Kyle Oshima, coach of the Mustang Yankees. “They’ve been here for three years and they seem to get stronger each time they come.”

In addition to the Mustang division championship, Ha‘aheo went home with the Homerun trophies for both the Mustang and Bronco divisions when Kainalu Kaili La‘au was presented the Mustang division trophy and Levi Horner-Villa took the Bronco division during the Saturday bang-a-thon featuring Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association Hall of Honor inductee Shea Shimabukuro of the Kaua‘i High School baseball team, HHSAA Division II state champions, feeding the pitching machine.

Larry Ephan, whose daughter Kawehi wields a strong bat for the Waimea High School softball team as a catcher, topped the homeruns for coaches.

“He was five-for-five,” said Cory Gokan, chair of Da Bash for 2011. “They even hit one on the tent.”

The Brewers, advancing to the finals with a win over the LBL Diamond Backs at Isenberg Park, broke a 1-1 stalemate in the bottom of the fourth when Doug Miyasato, finishing with a double and a single, scored off a Sam Nakata RBI play for the go-ahead.

Vallatini, getting first on a single, followed, scoring on a wild pitch for the 3-1 bulge.

The Brewers, finishing with 11 hits in the win, pushed its final run across the plate in the seventh inning then Vallatini, notching his third single in the game, scored his second run on an RBI play by Patrick Esteban.

Aaron Renaud, scoring in the seventh inning, and Jared Killeen, Yankees’ first baseman, accounted for the Yankees’ scoring, the Bronco Yankees clinching the LBL division title last week following an extended 10-inning game.

The Mustang Ha‘aheo held a 10-4 lead over the Angels following four innings of play, but a fifth inning rally by the Angels saw eight runs cross the plate, reversing the lead.

The Angels capitalized on three hits and a bunt as well as five Ha‘aheo errors in that frame.

But Maui came back with two runs on one hit in the sixth inning, Kea Aguirro exploding in jubilation after tying the match 12-12, scoring on a passed ball.

With no outs in the seventh frame, Maui got two runners aboard, Keev Kutsunai, the little outfielder, singling and advancing on a play described by spectators as “a Chapa Ramos special.”

But Kutsunai was cut down at the plate when the Ha‘aheo missed a bunt on a squeeze play, advancing Cody Constantino, the bunt behind the Chapa Ramos special, to third and scoring on a wild pitch.

“We’re already planning for next year,” said an Angels’ parent, disappointed with the runner-up spot, but elated at the overall tournament. “We were on the wait list until we got the call. This is a really good tournament and we can’t wait until next year.”

The 7th Annual LBL Da Bash started play Friday morning with 32 teams in the Mustang and Bronco divisions, continuing through the championships, Monday afternoon at the Lihu‘e County Park.


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