BANGOR, Maine — Smart baserunning and capitalizing on defensive mistakes led to an eight-run sixth inning for U.S. West champion Pearl City, Hawaii, en route to an 11-1 victory over Canadian champion Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, on Monday in the Senior League World Series at Mansfield Stadium.
U.S. West’s Colby Hirano walked to lead off the game and immediately stole second base. Hirano scored from second following a sacrifice bunt by Kawaiola Takemura to set the tone early in the game.
“That was the first time [I’ve scored from second on a bunt],” Hirano said. “I saw the signal, and I knew if he bunted it to third I could make it home. I just stole [second] and then he bunted.”
Hirano paced U.S. West with a walk, single, triple, RBI and three runs scored. U.S. West improved to 2-0 in Pool A while Canada slipped to 0-2.
“We were expecting small ball from them; they are a fast, small team. We just fell asleep,” said Canada manager Derrick Hanna.
Canada started Ryan Lawless on the mound, and he limited the opportunities for U.S. West through the first five innings, giving up two runs on two hits while walking six and striking out two. After allowing one run in the fifth, Lawless was pulled after he reached the pitch-count limit at the end of the inning. U.S. West went on a run after Canada replaced Lawless.
Hanna said the walks and errors led to Canada’s downfall. Canada walked 10 batters and allowed five errors.
“I thought all our pitchers pitched very well; they only gave up five hits. It was just our defense today. We have to cut back on the errors,” Hanna said.
Four walks and three wild pitches to go along with two dropped pop-ups and a fielding error in which Canada second baseman Taylor Slade injured his ankle allowed eight runs in all, with seven coming after the second out.
“We fell apart to say the least. We made a couple errors and it snowballed. We had four or five errors in an inning that we should have not let any runs score. It snowballs. The kids get frustrated, as do I, and they just keep coming, error after error,” he added.
U.S. West manager Alex Takemura said the key to his team’s success is to just take what is given to them.
“If they throw strikes, we swing. And if they don’t, we’ll take whatever they give us,” he said.
Takemura also mentioned that he used a strategy employed by their opponent in his team’s 1-0 victory over U.S. Southeast champion Martinez-Evans Little League of Martinez, Ga.
“We had a great game last night with a very, very speedy team who put a lot of pressure on us. We decided to use our speed to our advantage and put pressure on the other team,” he added.
U.S. West starting pitcher Chevy Sumile pitched five innings, giving up zero runs on two hits while walking one and striking out eight.
“My changeup was working, just went out there and focused,” Sumile said.
After its nightmare sixth inning in the field, Canda put up its only run of the game in the bottom of the sixth when Kenzie Lahey led off with a walk. After advancing to second on an Alex McDonald groundout, two passed balls enabled Lahey to cross the plate and make the score 10-1.
Jordan Breen doubled for Canada.
Hirano reached base on a fielding error in the top of the seventh inning and made it to third on a Takemura double. Matt Tsutomi drove in Hirano with a sacrifice fly to center field to finish up scoring.
Takemura said his team’s biggest challenge so far is off the field.
“Our biggest challenge is to settle down the boys off the field with the buses, hotels, travel time, just getting into a routine where we can get comfortable,” Takemura said.
Hanna says his team has to look past Monday’s loss and get back on track Tuesday.
“Hopefully we will just forget about it and bounce back tomorrow with a fresh, new game,” Hanna said. “Today we gave up too many walks. I don’t think you will see that tomorrow from our starter, he has a lot of control. You won’t see eight or nine walks tomorrow.”
Canada takes the field against 2-0 U.S. East champion Kennett Square, Pa., Wednesday at 5 p.m. while U.S. West plays Asia-Pacific champ Illiam Central LL of Makati City, Philippines, Wednesday at 8 p.m.