Massapequa loses to Honolulu in Game 1 of Little League World Series

The Massapequa Coast Little League team showed no mercy, at least until the end, for their opponent in their Little League World Series opener Friday night in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Honolulu Little League started the game with a literal bang and threw a combined no-hitter in a 12-0 drubbing of the Long Island club.

The game ended with the mercy rule after the fifth inning, as Honolulu scored in every frame.

Massapequa Coast fans look on dejectedly during their 12-0 mercy rule loss to Honolulu, Hawaii.
Douglas Healey
Honolulu's Keko Payanal rounds first after hitting a two-run homer off Danny Fregara (5) of Massapequa, NY during the fourth inning on Friday night.
Honolulu’s Keko Payanal rounds first after hitting a two-run homer off Massapequa’s Danny Fregara (5) in the fourth inning.
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“The kids are obviously disappointed, rightly so,” Massapequa manager Roland Clark told The Post after the outing. “But the look I got on the kids’ bench is they don’t want to go home. I told them: ‘When you leave this stadium, you will be greeted by your parents, friends and family. This game is done. We’re just going to have to prepare for the game on Sunday. ”

Massapequa will play its next match in the double-elimination tournament on Sunday (2 pm, ABC) against the winner of Saturday night’s matchup between teams from Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, and Middleboro, Massachusetts. Honolulu will rest until Monday night. , when facing the team from Pearland, Texas.

On Friday, Honolulu’s leadoff hitter, shortstop Kekoa Payanal, knocked pitcher Joey Lionetti’s third pitch of the game over the left-field wall for a home run, giving his team a quick 1-0 lead.

In the second inning, first baseman Tau Purcell drove home Cohen Sakamoto with an RBI single to give Hawaii a 2-0 lead.

Initially, Massapequa fended off a potential offensive rush with decent downfield defense. Heading into the third inning, they replaced their ace, Lionetti, on the mound with Danny Fregara, in the first of three pitching changes. It was a tough night for Lionetti, who had pitched a no-hitter in a 4-0 win over Toms River East last Friday to lead Massapequa to the Little League World Series.

Honolulu star pitcher Jaron Lancaster had seven strikeouts in just three innings before giving way to Sakamoto who finished the game.

Lancaster led off the third inning with a home run over the center field wall that made it 3-0.

Honolulu added three more runs in the fourth. Payanal hit his second home run, a two-run homer. Lancaster hit a 3-pointer to deep center, then scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-0.

In the top of the fifth, Lancaster drove in a run on a sacrifice fly as the Honolulu giant added six more runs, saying aloha for the night.

Massapequa Coast manager Roland Clark speaks to his team after their 12-0 loss to Honolulu, Hawaii.
Massapequa Coast manager Roland Clark speaks to his team after their 12-0 loss to Honolulu, Hawaii.
Douglas Healey

The crushing loss underscored Clark’s core philosophy of the season: building tough skin through adversity.

“We’ve worked on mental preparation this season, making sure they know how to take the good with the bad,” Clark said. “We have learned lessons from every setback, and it has made us stronger.”

Honolulu's Jaron Lancaster, right, rounds off first after hitting a solo home run off Danny Fregara (5) of Massapequa, NY during the third inning on Friday night.
Honolulu’s Jaron Lancaster, right, turns first after hitting a solo home run off Massapequa’s Danny Fregara (5) during the third inning.
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Clark, who said his team needs to come out more aggressively at the plate on Sunday, also tipped his cap to Honolulu.

“The two pitchers from Hawaii were up in speed. [The team] has this reputation. Everyone on campus talks about them. The guys are saying ‘Wow, we got beaten by a better team tonight.’ ”

The manager added that events in this year’s tournament, such as Utah’s Easton Oliverson suffering a head injury after falling from his bunk, have put the outcome into perspective.

“We don’t make excuses. We will work on the positives,” Clark said. “We will have a little bit of an advantage that the team we will face will play on Saturday.

“At the end of the day, it’s just a baseball game.”

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