TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Sunnyside didn’t want to pitch to Jaren Pascual with two on and two out in the 3rd and we found out why.
The Central East Maui (Wailuku) Little League slugger blasted a three-run home run off Sunnyside’s Juan Abril. Maui pitcher Logan Kuloloia added another home run in the 6th as the the Hawaiians beat the Arizona state champions 4-1 to advance to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
The loss denied Sunnyside a chance to become the first Tucson-based Little League squad to reach the World Series since Tucson International did it in 1986.
The South Siders managed just two hits against Kuloloia who struck out five.
Hawaii’s Honolulu Little League represented the West last year at the World Series and won the title.
Since the forming of the new West Region in the 2001, the West winner has won the Little League World Series four times.
Cristobal “Damian” Lorta had a tremendous post-season run for Sunnyside. He hit seven home runs in 13 games, driving in 20 runs.
He also pitched a no-hitter on July 22 to lead the South Siders to a 10-0 victory over Mesa Red Mountain in the Little League Majors state championship game.
District 8 champion Sierra Vista went 4-2 at the state tournament while District 5 champion Canyon View finished 0-2.
The state championship for the Sunnyside Majors Baseball team was the third state title this summer for the South Siders who also claimed titles in the Juniors and Seniors divisions.