Honolulu defeats Arizona to advance to Williamsport for the Little League World Series

Kekoanui Payanal homered to lead off the bottom of the first and pitcher Jaron Lancaster did the rest as the Honolulu Little League team defeated Arizona 9-2 in the West Region final Friday to advance to another LL World Series tournament in Williamsport, Pa.

Manager Gerald Oda, who led a Honolulu team to a 2018 LLWS title, guided this Honolulu team to an unbeaten record in the West Regional played in San Bernardino, Calif. Honolulu defeated Southern California 3-0 on Saturday and Northern California 13-3 on Monday.


Honolulu jumped on Arizona early, scoring a run in the first, six in the second and two in the third.

Kaeo Nouchi ignited the big second inning with a one-out double. Three walks followed to make it 2-0. A passed ball made it 3-0 and Lancaster smacked a two-run double to make it 5-0. Angus Angell doubled to make it 6-0 and pinch hitter Esaiah Wong’s single made it 7-0.

Arizona got a homer in the top of the third to make it 7-1. But Honolulu tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the third.

Brennan Toma hit an 0-2 pitch for a homer to right-center and Ruston Hiyoto singled in Jonnovyn Sniffen to make it 9-1.

Lancaster pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing four hits while walking three and striking out eight. He exited in the top of the sixth and final scheduled inning when he reached his 85-pitch limit. Arizona added an unearned run with two out before a groundout ended it.

The World Series will be held Aug. 17-28.

This will be the seventh Hawaii team to advance to the Little League World Series for 12-year-olds since 2005, when West Oahu won it. A Hawaii team has advanced to the World Series in the past four years that the tournament was held. Oda’s Honolulu won in 2018, Central Maui lost in a third-place game in 2019 and a Honolulu team won the third-place game in 2021. No tournament was held in 2020.

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