Hawaii needed an extra inning to do it, but the team from Maui eliminated Juneau's Gastineau Channel Little League Senior All-Stars from the Pacific Northwest Division Senior (age 15-16) Little League Baseball Tournament, claiming a 4-3 victory in eight innings Sunday in Vancouver, Wash.
"It was an incredible game," Juneau head coach Bill McCauley said. "This was a very good Hawaii team. Those guys were well-drilled and they had great pitching."
Hawaii took a 3-0 lead in the third inning when what appeared to be a double-play ball skipped eight feet over Juneau second baseman C.J. Keys' head, driving in two runs. Another single plated another run.
Both teams settled down into a pitchers' duel until the top of the seventh inning, when Juneau scored three runs to force extra innings.
With one out, Sergio Magallanes walked and went to second on a bad-hop single by Erik Scholl. Wil Ridgeway singled to left, and Magallanes scored when the leftfielder misplayed the ball. Kyle Lanz reached on a fielder's choice that sent Scholl to third and erased Ridgeway at second. Scholl scored on a wild pitch, with Lanz taking second. Matt Greely singled to right to bring home a limping Lanz, who was still feeling a sprained ankle from before the state tournament.
Hawaii had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Maui put runners on first and second with one out when the next batter lined a shot off Juneau pitcher Greely's knee. The ball bounced into foul territory and Lanz scooped it up and dove to first for the out, then there was a 15-minute delay while medics looked at Greely's knee. Despite the painful injury, Greely stayed in the game and he got the next out on a liner to centerfield, leaving runners on second and third.
Juneau had a chance to win the game in the top of the eighth inning, as Keys walked and took second on a sacrifice bunt by Jordan Davis. Mike Foster then hit a grounder to short that was bobbled, then thrown away as the shortstop tried to get Keys out at second. Juneau ended up with Keys on third and Foster on second with one out, but couldn't score.
Hawaii finally won the game in the bottom of the inning despite their first hitter being thrown out at second by Ridgeway while trying to stretch a single into a double. Their next hitter had an infield single, Greely hit a batter, the next hitter popped out to Foster at catcher, then another infield single loaded the bases with two outs. Hawaii finally scored when the next hitter hit a shot past a diving Lanz at first.
McCauley said Greely's effort on the mound was special, despite the loss. Greely threw a complete game, giving up eight hits and three walks while striking out three.