SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Vonn Fe'ao has quite a story to
tell his friends when he gets back home to Hawaii.
Fe'ao escaped a bases-loaded jam with a double play in the top
of the fifth inning then sealed the game with a homer in the bottom
of the inning as West Oahu of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, advanced to the
title game of the Little League World Series with a 6-1 victory
over Rancho Buena Vista of Vista, Calif.
West Oahu (5-0) won the U.S. crown and will play the title game
Sunday against defending champion Curacao, a 2-0 winner over Japan in the international
Fe'ao, who was playing third base, entered the game as a
reliever with one out and runners on second and third and hit the
first batter he faced, Nathan Lewis, to load the bases.
But Fe'ao got the next hitter, slugger Kalen Pimentel, to pop
weakly to shortstop. Kini Enos then threw to second to easily get
pinch-runner Dylan Demeyer, who was caught too far off base, ending
the threat from Rancho Buena Vista (4-1).
In the bottom of the fifth, Fe'ao hit his high shot that landed
beyond the hedges in left field and set off a scramble for the
souvenir among fans camped out on a grassy hill.
Which moment was bigger, Vonn?
"Getting out of the jam," Fe'ao, 12, said after the game.
What did he feel?
"Relief," he answered, allowing a momentary grin.
His manager, Layton Aliviado, later piped in and showed a little
"We're happy. We don't show it, but we're happy," said
Rancho Buena Vista's Daniel Gibney grounded out to second to end
the game. After the final out, first baseman Layson Aliviado -- the
manager's son -- gripped the ball in his glove and raised his hands
Teammates raised their index fingers in the air to signal "No.
"I just have faith in these boys. We came and said our
prayers," Layton Aliviado said.
California and Hawaii had just two hits in the game, and Hawaii
has just three hits over its last two games.
But two of those hits are homers, including Fe'ao's blast on
Rancho Buena Vista threatened in the fifth inning after Gibney
tripled into the right-field corner, then later slid home safely on
a wild pitch.
Five batters later, Pimentel came to bat after getting a pat on
the back from manager Marty Miller. He was the hitter Rancho Buena
Vista fans wanted at the plate with the bases loaded, after having
hit two grand slams already in the tournament.
But Pimentel popped up the first pitch he saw from Fe'ao to
start the inning-ending double play. Miller said later that his
slugger normally doesn't swing at the first pitch.
"You can only go to the well so many times," he said. "He's
only a 12-year-old boy."
Sheyne Baniaga's single through the left side in the fourth
inning just out of the reach of Rancho Buena Vista's infielders
broke open a scoreless duel. It was the first hit off Lewis,
West Oahu scored three more times in the fourth off two walks
and an error.
Boys from West Oahu and Rancho Buena Vista became friends
when their respective regional tournaments were played
simultaneously earlier this month in the same stadium in San
Bernardino, Calif. They took the same flights to Pennsylvania and
are scheduled to take the same flight back west on Monday. ... The
West Oahu team got a pep talk from Penn State football coach Joe
Paterno after traveling to State College on Friday to watch the