PONY: Abreu’s 2-hitter forces Game 3 in Bronco playoffs

HANAPEPE — Lihu‘e Bronco All-Star Brayden Abreu threw a two-hitter and the Broncos piled up 10 hits to force Game 3 with an 11-1 win over the West Kaua‘i Bronco All-Stars, Thursday at the Kato Field in Hanapepe.

Rebounding from their 13-8 loss Tuesday, Abreu went the distance for Lihu‘e to pick up the victory in the game shortened by the 10-run ruling.

Working the mound and metering each pitch, Abreu gave up one run on two hits while striking out eight West Kaua‘i batters and walking three, all three walks coming in the fifth inning.

“Don’t get fancy,” Lihu‘e head coach Vince Killeen said from the dugout as Abreu neared the end of the game. “Just throw the ball.”

Lihu‘e erupted for seven runs on six hits in the fourth inning to ice the 10-run ruling, led by Sam Nakata, whacking a two-run double.

Prior to Nakata taking the box, Lihu‘e first baseman Jared Killeen pounded out a double, scoring Doug Miyasato who got first base after being hit by a pitch for the second time in the game.

Kobey Dias came up with a single and scored along with Jared Killeen on Nakata’s two-bagger.

Pat Esteban walked with no outs, and scored along with Nakata on an Abreu ground-rule double.

Chase Ibia and Keala Iwasaki each singled, Iwasaki marking his second hit, and both scored before West Kaua‘i closed the page.

Opening the fifth for West Kaua‘i was Jenson Hanohano with a walk. Caleb Ephan went down on a strikeout for the first out and Kai Perreira-Alquiza moved Kenji Toyofuku, pinch running for Hanohano, to second on a walk. West Kaua‘i marked its second out on a whiff bringing Charlie Lopez to the box.

Lopez walked to fill the bases, setting the stage for Levi Sagucio, who pounded a sole home run in West Kaua‘i’s Tuesday win.

But the big third baseman’s whack was smartly fielded by Nakata in center field to end the threat.

West Kaua‘i’s two hits came in the second inning when first baseman Jeremiah Sanchez singled and after stealing second base, scored on an RBI shot from Cody Taniguchi.

Lihu‘e picked up its 11 runs on 10 hits led by Nakata, who finished with three RBIs with a double, a single and two runs scored. Dias ended with an RBI on two singles, scoring twice. Miyasato singled and was hit by pitches twice, Jared Killeen doubled and marked two RBIs, Abreu doubled and marked two RBIs, Chase Ibia singled and scored twice, and Iwasaki finished with two singles and scored twice.

The win forces Game 3 in the Protect Our Nation’s Youth Bronco All Stars best-of-three series.

Lihu‘e will return to Kato Field for a 10 a.m., Saturday game, winner take-all to the Big Island for the state championships, July 1 through 5.

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

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