HILO, Hawaii: The Hilo All Stars – the 2011 Senior League World Series champions – made a triumphant homecoming to the Big Island on Sunday evening.
Landing at the Hilo International Airport under the Hawaii County Fire Department water cannon salute, a display reserved for only the most honored arrivals, the team of all stars was greeted by a joyous mob of friends, family and fans who had been keeping close tabs on the boys’ title run.
Hilo, U.S. West regional champions, has been thousands of miles away in Bangor, Maine, busy putting on one of the most dominant baseball performances ever witnessed at the decade long championship. The group went undefeated, finally smashing their championship opponents – Rose Capital East of Tyler, Texas – in an 11-1 beating that invoked the mercy rule and ended the game early. It was Koa Matson’s three-run double to right center with two outs in the bottom of the fifth that ended the game.
Thus, Hilo became the first team in Bangor’s 10-year series history to win the championship game by the 10-run mercy rule.
Excellent pitching by Quintin Torres-Costa – allowing just three hits and one earned run over five innings, striking out six and walking none – sealed the fate of the Texas team.
Hilo has done well in the City of Bangor over the years. The Hawaii Island team defeated Chesterville, Va., 16-8 in 2003, making them the first team in Senior League World Series history to win the championship twice.
Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi was onhand to greet the kids, and declare the moment to be Hilo All Stars Senior League World Series Champions Day.
After Kenoi’s proclamation, longtime Coach Kaha Wong thanked the huge crowd at the airport.