(Pony Baseball) - In a clash of titans, West Zone Champion Mililani, Hawaii and Mexico Zone Champion Tijuana, Baja California, both undefeated, met in the championship game of the Mustang-9 World Series. Thanks in part to a sensational pitching performance by starter Jonah Brub, Mililani shutout Tijuana 10-0 in five innings.
Brub’s performance was the deciding factor in the game, as he pitched a gem, going five innings and allowing only two hits with six strikeouts. Brub held Mexico’s two best hitters, Ricardo Aguilar and Rafael Rodriguez, hitless on the day.
The final game marked the first time in Mustang-9 World Series history that a non-California team would take home the trophy. Tijuana defeated every opponent by double digits, forcing the mercy rule to end games. Mililani, too, terrorized the bracket with strong showings, fulfilling the inevitability of a final game between the two teams.
A walk to Jonah Parker began the latter half of the second inning and an error by Tijuana’s shortstop allowed Parker to take second. Pitcher Irvings Garcia and Eleu Colburn engaged in a deep battle on a full count, but Garcia won, forcing a flyout to center for the second out. Hoshio Oyama stood in the batter’s box with two on base and worked another full count before Garcia loaded the bases on a walk.
Garcia pitched himself into a jam, which led to Katano reaching base off an error, driving in the first run of the game. Ryeder Takahashi singled to left and drove another run in, pressuring Tijuana into a mound visit early in the game. Another single to right by Kawahakui drove two more in and Tijuana found themselves down 4-0 before Kawahakui was caught stealing second, finally ending the inning.
Mililani once again came through in the clutch with two outs in the third. A walk and a stolen base by Eriz Passi cost Tijuana, when Trycen Kaimiola singled to drive Passi in.
Tijuana was forced to pull Garcia for pitcher Jesus Castro, who immediately gave up a first pitch double to Oyama, which added yet another run (6-0).
Opportunities for a comeback was starting to run out for Tijuana, who had yet to even get a hit against Brub. The spell was finally broken when Matthew Delgado singled to center and took second off a sacrifice bunt from Edgar Rubio. Castro came to bat and struck out, before Castro grounded out to first, killing the brief rally Delgado attempted to start.
Mililani again began strong with a single to left by Passi, which brought Delgado out to pitch, who began with a strikeout. A sacrifice bunt by Kaimiola brought Parker home. A passed ball on a routine groundout sent Kaimiola home for another run. Rubio came in to pitch the one out and the bases loaded, but he hit Takahashi with a pitch and drove yet another run in.
A single by Kawahakui drove the last runner in, giving Mililani a 10-0 lead, ending the game on the mercy rule.
Takahashi paced Mililani with three hits, while Kawahakui led the offense with three RBI.
Mililani’s victory granted the team its first ever Mustang-9 World Series title, the first for the state of Hawaii. Meanwhile, Mexico finishes as the World Series runners-up yet again, after Navajoa, Sonora finished as the 2017 M9WS finalist.