It has been a whirlwind last 48 hours for the Central East Maui Little League All-Stars at the intermediate level.
The team of 13 players from four different Maui schools won the Little League Intermediate (12-13) 50/70 West Regional in Nogales, Ariz., on Thursday night. They defeated Laguna Beach Little League, the Southern California champions, 12-8 in the title game.
Soon after, the boys from Maui were being paraded around the U.S.-Mexico border town by police escort as the champions of the regional. On Friday, they checked into their hotel in Livermore, Calif., for the 50/70 World Series that begins on Sunday.
“Oh, it’s one of the coolest things of my life, you know, for these boys to have the opportunity,” Maui manager Chris Kish said via phone on Friday. “We almost didn’t even have a team that was going to be put together and participate in the state tournament. It was fairly last minute, so when the other coaches and I came and were able to kind of put together the roster, it’s pretty ironic how wonderful it’s come to fruition.”
The team includes players from St. Anthony, Kamehameha Maui, Iao and Maui Waena intermediate schools.
“All the boys have really gelled together from the first practice,” Kish said. “It’s a wide variety of boys from different teams that’s been put together. The caliber of talent, it’s just real solid.”
CEMLL took the lead early in the championship game, scoring a run in the first inning on an RBI single by Marcus Mamuad. Maui scored six runs in the sixth inning on RBIs by Malu Rosaga, Isaac Gosselin, Jayden Perry-Waikiki and Mamuad.
Mamuad, Perry-Waikiki, Koltyn Sergent, Riley Phillips and Kaniela Belena all had two hits to pace Maui’s 14-hit attack in the final.
The roster is rounded out by Alika Kish, George Dafun, Teyvon Kahalewai, Kekoa Brown, Kapono Easley and Nainoa Haban.
Chris Kish is assisted by coaches Koa Brown and Joseph Gosselin.
Maui won the Intermediate world crown in 2016 and made the semifinals a year later.
Maui opens play in the Intermediate World Series on Sunday at 9 a.m. HST against Toms River (N.J.) East, the East Regional champions.
There are six regional champions from the United States and six international regional champions in the World Series that ends with the world championship game on Aug. 7 — that game will be televised on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. HST. Most other games will be streamed on ESPN+.
Central East Maui’s 50/70 squad joins their Senior League counterparts on the World Series stage. The CEM Seniors (15-16), who clinched their spot Wednesday, start play in the Senior League World Series in Easley, S.C., against Fleet Park (Va.) in the tournament opener today at 4 a.m. HST.
All SLWS games will be available on ESPN+ except the final, which will be televised on ESPN on Aug. 6 at 10 a.m. HST.
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com