By: Carl Hennell-World Series Journal Editor
SHELBY, N.C.—Waipahu, Hawaii, catcher Austyn Nagamine had three hits and three RBIs, shortstop Reid Akau had three hits and scored five runs, center fielder Tanner Tokunaga collected five RBIs, and pitcher Kamalu Neal earned a complete-game victory to help lead the Hawaiians in eliminating Wilmington, NC, 12-3, Sunday evening at the American Legion Baseball World Series.
Hawaii scored four runs in the top of the second inning and never looked back. It led 11-1 before North Carolina scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning to extend the game to a full nine innings.
Waipahu (25-5) will play Gonzales, La., Monday evening. North Carolina's season ended with a 35-4 record.
Neal used a well-located low 80-mph fastball with a slider to spread five hits and two walks over nine innings, striking out only two, while inducing 18 ground outs. His defense committed just one error; North Carolina committed five.
"He throws an effective fastball," Nagamine said. "It's a flat fastball; it doesn't move or anything. But the batters today were really aggressive and chasing everything. So he was pitching to contact and our defense was making the plays. His curveball wasn't really working today. It usually does and it's really sharp. At the regional in Oregon he shut people down with his curveball. His slider helped out a lot today because it caught batters off guard. I used his fastball a lot today, especially once we got the lead and they were aggressive I just wanted him to paint the outside and let them chase it. He was locating the ball really well, and when he did put it down the middle of the plate they were rolling over on it because it was a slower fastball. Whenever I called the changeup they just hammered it. So we rarely used it."
Akau, Hawaii's No. 8 hitter, went 3-for-5 with two RBIs to go with his five runs. He highlighted the four-run second inning with a two-run bloop single into left field.
"I had two strikes… It was a changeup and I stuck out my bat it is just so happened to drop over the third baseman," Akau said. "The big hit … It's new to me."
Nagamine highlighted Hawaii's three-run fourth inning with a two-run bloop single into left field. "I took two strikes and I was just sitting on the fastball because after two strikes he couldn't control his curveball," he said. "He threw a fastball and it was low and outside and I dinked it over the third baseman. I just got lucky. I just clicked my wrists and it went over. If the third baseman was taller he would have caught it. It was super close."
Tokunaga hit a two-run single up the middle in the fifth to give Hawaii a 9-1 lead and then added a two-run double in the seventh to put the game at 11-1.
Bryson Yasui and Dylan Sugimoto each had two hits in the winning effort as Hawaii out-hit North Carolina, 13-5.
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