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Home » August 2008 Game CommentsAugust 2008 » Belittle


Game 129: August 23, 2008
Red Sox 0 L: Jon Lester (12-5) 74-55, 1 game losing streak
WinBlue Jays 11 W: Jesse Litsch (9-7) 67-62, 1 game winning streak
Highlights: J.L. versus J.L. Cancer survivor against former ball boy. Litsch allowed just seven baserunners over six innings while Lester looked unusually out of kilter. Throughout the season the Blue Jays suffered from an anemic offense, but their bats come alive against the Red Sox. Toronto scored runs in each of the first five innings.

The lackluster Red Sox performance had me switching over to the Little League World Series. As in 2005, another team from Hawai‘i made it to the United States championship game.

The team represents the best Little Leaguers from the Waipi‘o and Waipahū towns of O‘ahu. “Wai” means water in Hawaiian; the first town name means “curved water” and the second means “[where] water gushes forth.” Waipi‘o straddles a meandering gorge and Waipahū is named after an artesian spring.

Pre-contact, native Hawaiians considered Waipahū the capital of O‘ahu. This is not surprising given the importance of potable water. That water made the town the hub of sugar plantations on the island. Today, one can revisit that past in Hawaii’s Plantation Village. On one street there are homes representing Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Japanese, Korean, Okinawan, Portuguese, and Puerto Rican cultures; people from around the globe came to Hawai‘i to find better lives for themselves and their families.

The diversity of the islands can be seen in Hawaiian team’s names and faces. Two standout hitters are Pikai Winchester and Iolana Akau. But it is not their names that are chanted by the families in the stands.

“Paliku! Paliku! Paliku!” The Little League ‘ohana (family, whether blood-related or not) rallied the team with this name in tense moments. Paliku is the name of Pikai’s five-year old brother, who is back in Hawai‘i being treated for lymphoma.

Pikai went 2-for-2 and his team mounted a six-run rally in the sixth and final inning over the team from Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Today at 3:30 the Waipi‘o Little Leaguers play against the Matamoros, Mexico team for the world title. Best of luck to these true amateur athletes.

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