By Arnie Leshin
It was expected that perhaps Mid-Atlantic Region champion New Jersey might be able to challenge defending champion, Hawaii, the West Region winner, but it never worked out when only a fifthinning rain delay slowed down the Wailuku East Maui domination.
It was 6-0 Hawaii when the rain forced a delay. It scored once in the first, two in the second, and three in the third, and only shut down in the scoreless fourth. When the skies emptied, New Jersey, from Elizabeth, was batting. At that point, it had four hits and committed a pair of errors.
Hawaii had five hits and Logan Kulolia worked the first 3.2 and struck out three. Three of the RBI came from Nicholas Nashiwa and one from Jaren Paseual. For New Jersey, Yadi Mateo came through with two hits.
If the score holds up, Hawaii would be 2-0 and New Jersey 1-1 in the double-elimination format.
But it looks more like the heavy rain wasn’t going away and this game will continue Monday.
In the other United States bracket played at Lamade Field, undefeated Southeast Region champion Virginia won its second game in rolling over Midwest Regional winner Minnesota, 11-0, in a game that went only four innings via the 10-run rule against the team from Coon Rapids.
In its opener of this 72nd annual Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa., Virginia had no-hit New England Region champion Rhode Island, 3-0, and has yet to allow a run.
This time, Virginia pushed across three runs in the first, five in the second, and added three more in the third. It came away with nine hits and did not allow any for Minnesota
Minnesota’s 12-year-old Maddy Fleking, the first girl to play in the LL World Series since 2013, took the mound for the first inning and did not last after she was reached for three runs and five hits.
The Virginia hit parade was led by Colton Hicks’ two hits and three RBI while five runs were batted in by Carson Timm, and Chase Obstgart added two hits. The pitching star for the East Riding boys was Justin Lee, whiffed six in the four innings. He was good for eight first-pitch strikes.
With the two International Bracket games completed, it became a Sunday of all shutouts.
And in the International Bracket, Asia-Pacific Region champion South Korea won its second straight by shutting down Caribbean Region champion Curaco, 4-0, and Curaco dropped to 1-1.
South Korea scored once in the third and three times in the fifth. It had three hits, with Minwook Park and Seen Hyun having one each and driving in two of the runs. Soho Yank and Jinwon Na did the hurling for South Korea, each going three innings, with Na striking out six and Yank four.
For the Caribbean team, Jurdick Protar pitched the first three frames and fanned two. His team could manage only one hit.
The other contest found Japan Region champion Choufu City blanking Mexico Region champion Mala-Torres, 5-0. to advance to 2-0 and dropping Mexico to 1-1. Japan had Kao Kulola pitch the first three innings and he struck out six and yielded two hits.
Luo Makera came away with three of the Japan six hits and drove in two runs. An RBI each were by Dui Rikuto, Yuto Kakeba and Daki Kobari. For Mexico, Erico Sacella had two of his team’s three hits.
NOTES: Cuba is the latest nation to join the Little League. It played in the Caribbean Region, defeating the Dominican Republic, 6-0, before losing to the Curaco B team, 3-2, which lost in the final to Curaco A, 2-1. Cuba is working to fix its broken down Little League surfaces, outfield fences and baselines. Currently, the entire field is all dirt.