Hawaii musters one hit in victory over Louisiana
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- The streaking hitters from Hawaii were silenced, except for one big home run. The slumping batters from Curacao broke out with an 11-run inning.
On Thursday, both moved on in the Little League World Series.
West Oahu (4-0) will play another undefeated team, Rancho Buena Vista of Vista, Calif., in the U.S. championship game on Saturday.
In the early game Thursday, Christopher Garia allowed two hits and Willemstad, Curacao, the defending champs, scored 11 runs in the fifth inning to rout Mangilao-Barrigado, Guam, 16-1 to advance to the international championship game against Japan.
For West Oahu, Baniaga's homer was enough for starter Kini Enos, who struck out eight and scattered five hits over five innings.
The homer off a 1-1 fastball from Lafayette starter Jace Conrad sent fans sitting on blankets and beach chairs on the left-field hill scurrying for the souvenir. Baniaga was greeted by happy teammates with pats on the helmet at home plate and chants of "Whoop, there it is!'' from Hawaii fans.
"Timely hitting has been our nemesis in this tournament,'' Lafayette manager Mike Conrad said. He added the pitch was the last fastball that he planned to call against Baniaga in that at-bat.
Enos said he greeted Baniaga with a high-five in the dugout after his blast. "I was relieved when he hit that home run,'' Enos said with a small grin.
The shot spoiled an otherwise fine pitching performance from Conrad, who held the big boppers from West Oahu hitless for the first three innings. Hawaii entered the contest batting .333, with eight home runs in the first three games in South Williamsport.
Lafayette (2-2) threatened in the top of the third after Jace's brother, Brenn, reached on a fielder's choice and Sam Scofield doubled to put runners on second and third.
But Enos got Jace Conrad to bounce out to first base on the next pitch.
Lefty Quentin Guevara relived Enos in the sixth and final inning and got Connor Toups to ground out to second to end the game and eliminate Lafayette.
West Oahu manager Layton Aliviado said the first order of business after the game, which ended around 9:30 p.m., was dinner.
"I told them, let's have some fun, have some pizza. Let's go eat,'' he said with a smile.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press