SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT — West Region champion Wailuku, Hawaii, was rolling against one of the favored teams in the Little League World Series when Mother Nature stepped in Sunday.
Everything was going the way of the West as it scored runs in each of the first three innings to take a 6-0 lead on Mid-Atlantic champion Elizabeth, New Jersey, in the winners bracket game. Logan Kuloloia was in the midst of an outstanding performance on the mound when lightning streaked across the sky to force a delay. The weather continued to deteriorate as rain moved in, causing the game to be suspended. It will resume at 1 p.m. today as part of a six-game slate.
Jaren Pascual, who had a single and scored a run in the West’s win Friday, took the pro-Mid-Atlantic crowd out of the game early Sunday with a home run to center field. It was just the fourth homer of the tournament, but it proved costly for the Mid-Atlantic.
The second inning saw more offense from the Maui all-stars as Kamaha’o Akima got on base after being hit with a pitch. Kuloloia followed with a single before a throwing error to first base allowed both runners to score for a 3-0 lead.
The West then posted three more runs in the third when pinch hitter Nicholas Nashima sent a sharp grounder down the left field line for a bases-clearing triple.
When the game was halted in top of the fifth, J.R. Rosado was at the plate for Mid-Atlantic with a 2-2 count and Sal Garcia at first base following a one-out single. Yadi Mateo (2-for-2) was on deck.
Mateo gained a following before the Series started after helping his team qualify with a win over New York in the Mid-Atlantic championship. Mateo is easily the biggest player in the tournament, at 5-foot-10 and 200-plus pounds.
In the first inning of Sunday’s game, after back-to-back strikeouts from Kuloloia, Mateo drove a single through the infield but was stranded. In the third, after a Mid-Atlantic batter was hit by a pitch, Mateo followed with another single but was once again stranded.
Southeast 11, Midwest 0 (4 inn.)
Justin Lee lived up the hype as he stunned the Midwest with a no-hitter during Sunday’s early game. It was the second consecutive no-hit victory for the team from Riding, Virginia.
Lee was helped by a Southeast offense that posted 11 runs over four innings to trigger a 10-run rule. Lee struck out the final batter of the game and received a loud ovation from the Southeast fans.
The Southeast’s offense chased two Midwest pitchers from the game as it scored three times in the first inning and five more in the second.
Dylan Bloom replaced Drew Law, who started the game. Bloom was replaced by Maddy Freking in the second. Freking became the first female pitcher since the Mid-Atlantic’s Mo’Ne Davis lit up the 2014 Series and earned a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine.
The Southeast scored three more runs in the bottom of the third. Bloom made a diving catch on a foul ball down the left-field line, but it allowed two Southeast runners to tag up and score on the play.
In Sunday’s international games, Asia-Pacific topped Caribbean, 4-0, while Japan blanked Mexico, 5-0.