Stars Survive Slow Start to Complete Sweep of East Bay
The Hawa`i Stars rebounded from a slow start under the hot Hilo sun to defeat the East Bay Lumberjacks 5-2, completing a three-game sweep of the newest member of the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs.
The game was held at UH-Hilo’s George and Marion Hall Memorial Baseball Field while Wong Stadium was hosting the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
Reggie Taylor batted 3-for-4 and finished a home run shy of the cycle in the victory. He tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning with a triple to right field that scored Brenden Davis, who started the inning off with a single against starter Beau Hennings.
Marshall McDonald brought Taylor home in the very next at-bat with a sacrifice fly to left field, giving the Stars a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth. The Stars would score a run in each of the next two innings to add to their lead.
Just under a hundred fans, some of them huddled under the bottom of the press box for shade, watched as starting pitcher Ronnie Loeffler labored under the warm conditions. After striking out leadoff hitter Joe Wittig, the Waiakea High School graduate allowed the next four runners to reach base. DJ Andrade, former college baseball player at Dixie State, scored when Justin James tripled to deep center field. Two batters later, Lonnie Jackson brought James around with an RBI single to cap the two-run opening frame.
Despite getting the no-decision, Loeffler improved as the game went on. He struck out six in five innings of work. He walked three and gave up five hits.
The Stars got on the scoreboard in the fifth inning. After a pair of walks to Matt Hibbert and Anthony Williams, Dustin Smith singled to left field to bring Hibbert home.
After the breakthrough sixth inning, the Stars continued to mount an offensive attack against reliever Barry Takahashi. Hawai`i picked up a pair of singles and a walk before newly-acquired Mitch Levier drove a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Katsuaki Furuki to extend the lead to 4-2.
In the eighth, Williams hit a sacrifice fly to score Matt Hibbert, who led the inning off with a walk. He quickly got to third base on stolen base and an error by catcher Wittig to allow Williams to bring him home. The Stars led at that point 5-2, giving York enough breathing room to complete the ninth-inning save.
John Holley picked up the win in his three innings of relief work. He struck out three and walked two. Tony York earned his fourth save by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
Hennings dropped to 0-1 with the defeat. He allowed three runs on seven hits with five walks and five strikeouts.
Davis, Furuki, and Felix Brown each collected two hits for the Stars, who start a road trip next week in Maui against sister squad Na Koa Ikaika.
The Lumberjacks, who replaced the Vallejo Admirals on this series, were led at the plate by Demetrius Adams, who batted 2-for-4 while striking out twice. Former UH-Hilo Vulcan standout John Abreu walked three times and batted 0-for-1.
Hawai`i improved to 20-25 on the season and have won six of their last 10 outings. The Lumberjacks, a traveling league member, dropped to 1-18.
East Bay 200 000 000 – 2 8 1
Hawai`i 000 012 11x – 5 11 2