Honolulu Little League downs Connecticut in opening round of 2021 Little League World Series

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 5:19 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The “HNL boys” are off to a hot start, downing Conneticut 9-1 in the opening round of the 2021 Little League World Series.

The Kids from Connecticut got things going in the first inning, notching a leadoff homer off of Hawaii’s Ryan Keanu, however that would be all they could get out of him.

From then on the righty would strike out seven, giving up just two hits and no walks, pitching the full seven innings to get the win.

“After that home run, you know I just had to keep my head high and I just had to trust in my defense and I just had to throw strikes.” Keanu told Hawaii News Now.

On top of Keanu’s big day on the mound, ”Da Boys” bats came alive.

The Hawaii Offense scored four runs in both the second and fourth innings — Kekoa Payanal smacked a game-high two hits with the 808 getting nine hits as a team.

“As soon as we got to the second inning, as soon as we got that first hit, we got a little bit more up and not down from the home run that Ryan gave up.” Payanal said. “As soon as we got more hits we were more excited and we were just more focused into the game.”

Hawaii now heads to the winners bracket, where they will face off against Nebraska, the team looking to ride the momentum of their strong start in the Tourney.

“So its good that we beat Connecticut.” Catcher Chasen Uyetake said. “We can get two days off, our pitchers can get back and were back on the next team.”

For the coaches, watching “Da Boys” shine on the national stage is made sweeter knowing that Hawaii is behind them every step of the way.

“It definitely helps their confidence and knowing that they’re playing and representing Hawaii not only on the field but off the field as well you know were so blessed to have this opportunity.” Coach Kevin Bagoyo said. “Thank you we really appreciate that.”

Team Hawaii takes on Nebraska This Sunday at 5:00 a.m. Hawaii time on ESPN.

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