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BOULDER — Cramped seats on another plane trip might be the bigger reward for the Hawaii Post 35 baseball team than the beautiful trophy presented to them on Sunday by the American Legion.

After all, the step they took at Scott Carpenter Park by winning the American Legion Western Region 8 Tournament was just that — a step in what hopes to be a bigger prize.

A venture to Shelby, North Carolina for the Legion World Series is actually pretty common for the team based out of Waipahu, Oahu. After beating Arizona Post 7 (Tucson) 10-7 in the regional championship game, Waipahu advanced to the ALWS for the third straight season and fourth time in five years.

“There are a lot of guys on the team that have been there already … and for most of us all we want is to make the (championship)” said Tanner Atiburcio, who pitched 4 1/3 innings of relief to get the win as well as hit a home run in the finale. “That’s the goal.”

After playing once in the tournament already, the teams did battle twice more on Sunday as Arizona took a 6-3 win in Game 1 to extend the event to a full 15 games.

Atiburcio, however, said their dugout wasn’t rattled despite the loss, and despite five errors, the Honolulu-area team rallied from a 7-4 deficit with a six-run sixth inning in Game 2 against Tucson.

Catcher Kamali’lo’kakai Rios hit a two-run home run to put his team in front for good, and Hawaii posted 14 hits in the second game to get the win.

“We’d been in situations like that back at home, and we can trust one another so it’s not that hard to (rally),” Atiburcio said. “It took us awhile, but once we started warming up, the scoreboard showed it.”

It was a matter of coming through with runners in scoring position that helped Hawaii rebound. Whereas Waipahu left 11 men on base in Game 1, which resulted in its lowest run output all tournament, the bats came around in the clutch in Game 2.

Hawaii pounded three home runs, including Atribucio’s blast in the fourth inning that tied the score at 4-4.

Tucson retook the lead with three runs in the fifth – aided by Hawaii errors – but it was only a matter of time before the Hawaii state champs put their foot down. Kody Cacal, the tournament MVP, hit a two-run single after Rios’ home run, and that was the difference.

“We believed in each other and luckily we came in clutch and scored when we needed to,” said Cacal, who batted .417 in the tournament and will be making the Shelby trip for the first time. “Our approach was bad the first game … just not good at-bats. Second game, our coach told us to just swing at better pitches, take more pitches. I think we just made a good adjustment.”

Tucson ended the tournament with a 4-2 mark, getting a solid pitching effort from Jose Contreras (six innings, one earned run) in Game 1. Manuel Ramirez went 5 for 10 with a home run in the two Sunday tilts.

Adam Dunivan: or

Arizona Post 7 6, Hawaii Post 35 3

At Scott Carpenter Park (Game 1)

Tucson 010 140 000 — 6 13 1

Waipahu 100 010 010 — 3 10 0

W — Jose Contreras. L — Ladd Ah Choy.

Tucson hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Jesus Bracamontes 5-0-1-0, David Kelch 4-1-0-0, Manuel Ramirez 5-1-3-2, Andres Hackman 4-0-0-0, Miguel Figueroa 4-0-1-0, Trevelle Hill 4-2-2-0, Jacob Federico 4-2-3-0, Martin Garcia 4-0-3-3, Fernando Mungaray 0-0-0-0, Kyle Rivera 2-0-0-0, Jose Contreras 0-0-0-0, Ramon Vega 0-0-0-0. Totals 36-6-13-5. 2B —Ramirez, Figueroa, Hill. HR —Ramirez.

Waipahu hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Dylan Sugimoto 4-1-0-0, Cameron Igarashi 4-1-3-0, Tyler Yamaguchi 3-0-0-0, Kamali’lo’kakai Rios 5-0-1-0, Brandon Henderson 5-0-1-1, Nicholas Bottom 3-0-0-0, Ka’ikepono Anderson 3-0-2-0, Tanner Atiburcio 0-1-0-0, Kody Cacal 3-0-1-0, Rustin Ho 4-0-2-0, Ladd Ah Choy 0-0-0-0, Zachary Navas 0-0-0-0. Totals 34-3-10-1. 2B — Anderson. 3B —Igarashi, Ho. SB —Igarashi, Yamaguchi.

Tucson pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Jose Conteras 6-8-2-1-5-4, Ramon Vega 1-1-1-1-1-1, Miguel Figueroa 2-1-0-0-0-0.

Waipahu pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Ladd Ah Choy 4-9-4-4-2-0, Zacharay Navas 5-4-2-2-1-4.

Hawaii Post 35 10, Arizona Post 7 7

At Scott Carpenter Park (Game 2)

Tucson 010 330 000 — 7 11 3

Waipahu 101 206 00x — 10 14 5

W — Tanner Atiburcio. L — Trevelle Hill.

Tucson hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Bracamontes 4-0-1-1, Kelch 4-0-0-0, Ramirez 5-0-2-0, Hackman 4-1-1-0, Mungaray 0-0-0-0, Joseph Marquez 1-0-0-0, Figueroa 4-3-3-1, Hill 3-1-1-0, Federico 3-1-0-0, Garcia 3-1-2-3, Rivera 4-0-1-0. Totals 35-7-11-5. 2B —Ramirez, Hill. HR —Figueroa. SB —Bracamontes.

Waipahu hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Sugimoto 4-2-3-1, Igarashi 3-0-1-0, Yamaguchi 5-1-1-0, Rios 3-1-2-3, Henderson 4-1-2-0, Bottom 4-1-1-0, Cacal 5-1-2-2, Atiburcio 3-2-2-2, Anderson 0-0-0-0, Ho 3-1-0-0. Totals 34-10-14-8. 2B —Bottom. HR —Rios, Atiburcio. SB —Igarashi.

Tucson pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Hackman 4-8-4-4-1-2, Hill 1.2-5-6-0-1-0, Figueroa 2.1-1-0-0-2-1.

Waipahu pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Sugimoto 4-5-4-2-2-2, Atiburcio 4.1-6-3-2-1-2, Anderson 0.2-0-0-0-0-0.

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