Hawaii jumped out to another lead, and this time they made it stick — the Waipio All-Stars scored the first five runs against Columbus Northern on Thursday night, then held on for a 7-4 victory. That sends Hawaii and Georgia to a decisive third game tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m., with the winner advancing to the U.S. championship on Saturday.
Hawaii pitcher Noah Shackles stymied Columbus for a good part of the game, striking out nine batters and holding the Georgia kids to just two hits through the first five innings. Columbus made a valiant comeback attempt in the sixth, though, scoring three runs on two hits against Shackles before reliever Keolu Ramos finished the game with a strikeout and a groundout.
Columbus will have an ace in the hole on Friday, though — or, rather, on the mound: Troy Gilliland, who pitched all six innings of the team’s shutout victory over Ohio on Tuesday. The winner of Friday’s game heads to the U.S. championship, where they’ll face Pearland, Texas, 7-5 winners over Washington in Thursday’s early game.