Aug. 13—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.