LIHU‘E — The Aiea Blackbirds attempted to snuff the Ewa Canefires, but instead succumbed to solid pitching and hitting, 11-1, to give the Canefires the Mustang division title in the Lihu‘e Baseball League Da Bash VIII Monday at the Lihu‘e County Park.
Over at the Bronco field, the City Slickers from O‘ahu attempted to stem the Shockers, but a 6-2 decision awarded the Bronco division trophy to the Shockers when the dust settled on the wind-swept fields.
The championship games brought the Eighth LBL Da Bash to another successful close, co-chair Corey Gokan pleased that all of the participating teams had a memorable and pleasant experience over the four-day baseball tournament.
“This year, Ryan Koga became a co-chairman of the tournament,” Gokan said. “This gives the younger generation a taste of running a tournament which involves having a lot of good people working together to make everything work.”
Gokan said in addition to Ryan Koga, the LBL President Nani Sadora, having the honor of presenting the champion and runner-up trophies, was able to get the help of Maile Cox, Brandy Abreu, Celeste Inanod and Kalei Rego to put Da Bash Store together, although Cox had to catch a plane for the Mainland Monday morning.
“We kept the store open until after the lu‘au and packed everything into her car so she could be on the plane this morning,” Gokan said. “Everything went so smoothly because of all the help from parents and all the volunteers.”
The Ewa Canefires, stoked by the brisk tradewinds which blanketed the Lihu‘e County Park complex, occasionally punctuated by passing showers, finished tournament play 5-0, amassing 41 runs over five games while allowing just four runs by its opponents, including the sole run by the Aiea Blackbirds in the championship game.
Ewa opened pool play by shutting down the LBL Mustang Giants, 14-0, moving on to edge past the Dirtbags, 2-1 and completing pool play with a 4-1 showing over Ha‘aheo O Maui, advancing to the semifinals where the Canefires burned the Honolulu Cardinals 10-1 Monday before meeting Aiea in the title game.
“They’re trying to put out the fire,” coach Kimo Ganacial said from his third-base box. “Don’t let them put out the fire.”
The Aiea Blackbirds opened its pool play with a 17-0 shutout over the LBL Mustang Cardinals, moving on to shut down the HKYBL Dodgers 10-0 and flying past the LBL Mustang Yankees, the LBL Mustang division champions, 6-1 before edging past the Miliani Orioles, 14-10 to meet the Canefires for the title.
The Yankees, edging past the HKYBL Dodgers 5-4 in its opener, downed the LBL Cardinals 12-1 and represented Kaua‘i’s hope to advance to the playoffs before being defeated by Aiea on Saturday.
“The Mililani Orioles were having a lot of fun,” Gokan said. “It looked like the team had a lot of younger players.”
The Shockers of O‘ahu, playing in the Bronco division, quickly built a 49-run record while allowing no runs in pool play, opening with a 17-0 win over the Windward Cardinals, posting a 22-0 win over Kaizen and shutting down the LBL Bronco Marlins, 10-0 before meeting Ha‘aheo O Maui in the semifinals where the Shockers gave up its first run in its 11-1 win to advance to the championship game where it gave up two more runs in its 6-2 win over the City Slickers.
The City Slickers opened its pool play with a 4-0 win over Hekili and a 9-2 win over the Pearl City Naturals before taking a 4-1 edge over the LBL Bronco Tigers, the LBL Bronco division champions.
Advancing to the semifinals, the City Slickers took a 4-1 win over the Ewa Heat to face the City Slickers in the title game.
Next on the calendar for the LBL is the Mustang All-Star playoffs starting June 5 when the LBL Mustang All-Stars travel to the Anne Knudsen Park to face the West Kaua‘i Mustang All-Stars in a best-of-three series, the winner advancing to the state playoffs.