Kauai’s boys are still unbeaten at regionals.
Kawaihau Community Little League defeated Gastineau Channel Little League of Alaska in the team’s second game of pool play at the Junior Baseball Western Regional Tournament.
Kawaihau won, 11-3, Friday at Propstra Stadium in Vancouver, Wash.
“Those kids came out firing, those Alaska kids,” said Kawaihau head coach Justin Malina in a phone interview Friday. “They wanted to come out and win. Our kids had to step up. It was like, ‘Hey, you got to play all the way through the end.’”
Gastineau Channel scored its three runs in the first inning.
Kawaihau then responded with seven runs in the first two innings — five in the second inning. The Kauai team then scored a run in each of the last four innings.
“The first inning was kind of a nail-biter,” Malina said. “We scored two runs in the first, and then they came back and scored three. It was a battle. Then from the second inning on, my kids kind of settled down and just played baseball. It was good — good hitting and good pitching”
Shutting down Gastineau Channel after that first inning was a combination of pitching and defense, Malina said.
“We turned three or four double plays in the game,” he said. “Just defense settling down, limiting the errors and just getting the job done.”
Kawaihau got its 11 runs off 11 hits and committed one error. Gastineau Channel got its three runs off 11 hits and committed six errors.
“Taking advantage is what baseball is,” Malina said. “I tell my kids to take advantage of opportunities. I tell them when we make an error, we got to work double as hard to get that out.”
Kawaihau won its opening game on Wednesday against Nogales Little League of Arizona, 7-5.
Pool play concludes Saturday. Single-elimination bracket play begins Sunday. Seedings and schedules are to be determined following Saturday’s games.
“It’s been a fun ride,” he continued. “These two games concluded our (pool play). After this, we’ll just sit and wait.”