KOLOA — Lihu‘e Mustang All-Star Kaimi Malina pitched a no-hitter to lead Lihu‘e to a 15-0 win Saturday over the West Kaua‘i Mustang All-Stars before a jam-packed Anne Knudsen Park in Koloa, although it depends on who you talk to.
Lihu‘e coach Dale Cua said the bloop by West Kaua‘i’s Jacob Borrero in the fourth inning was credited as an error while the Protect Our Nation’s Youth scorebook showed it as a hit to third base.
“It was an error,” Coach Cua said following the win which came in the title game shortened to four innings by the 10-run rule.
In any event, the Lihu‘e win came behind Malina, who in addition to going the distance on the mound, came up strong in the batter’s box, lacing a double and a pair of triples and driving four runs across the plate while scoring three times in the win.
Overall, Lihu‘e bats notched 13 hits in the win, Dalson Cua and Keane Tibon getting two hits apiece following Malina.
Lihu‘e, reeling from its 4-3 loss Thursday, roared back with a strong statement Saturday morning, notching nine runs on seven hits and forcing two West Kaua‘i errors.
Malina knocked the first pitch of the game to deep leftfield followed by Ricky Rego, the Lihu‘e catcher, following with another two-bagger, driving Malina home.
Malu Ralston was hit by a pitch and Jake Gushikuma walked to load the bags, setting up Lihu‘e first baseman Robin Dumlao, who marked a double and coupled with a WK miscue, cleared the bases with three runs scoring.
Po‘okela Camarillo marked an RBI single, scoring Dumlao on his centerfield bang, forcing a pitching change with no outs.
Dalson Cua singled, Camarillo scoring on a passed ball while Cua was in the box, bringing up Dawson Kalapaca who singled to left before WK got its first out.
But Malina returned for his second appearance in the box with a 2-RBI three-bagger, Malina going on to score on a passed ball with Rego getting a ball four count and the ball getting past the WK catcher, Rego advancing to second on the play, but being left stranded as Ariki Cardejon struck out the next two Lihu‘e batters to stop the bleeding on a 9-0 inning.
Lihu‘e took out West Kaua‘i in order to close the frame, Dalson Cua getting a strong play at second base, throwing a field from the knee.
Lihu‘e’s defense continued its strong showing in the second inning when leftfielder Camarillo fielded a long Toto Perreira-Alquiza ball going backwards, but retaining control on the fall.
The Lihu‘e bats could not be silenced as Lihu‘e marked four more runs in the third and added another pair in the fourth inning before closing the game, West Kaua‘i getting two batters looking and the final out coming on a fly to centerfield.
West Kaua‘i had an opportunity in the third frame when Avery Casticimo advanced as far as third base, getting the first two bags on Lihu‘e miscues and third on a passed ball with no outs, but Malina settled down and took out the lineup in order.
With the win, the Lihu‘e Mustang All-Stars head to the Central O‘ahu Recreational Park June 29 to July 3 for the state Mustang finals.
The Bronco All-Stars, hosted by the Kaua‘i PONY program, starts its best-of-three playoffs Tuesday starting at 4 p.m. at Kato Field in Hanapepe when the Lihu‘e Bronco All-Stars meet the West Kaua‘i Bronco All-Stars.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.