To borrow a line from Yogi Berra, it was like deja vu all over again.
Once again, the Western All-Stars couldn’t find the strike zone. Once again, they fell by 10 runs, losing 12-2 in five innings to Mililani, Hawaii at the Cal Ripken 12-year-old World Series in Aberdeen, Md.
The loss dropped Western to 1-2 in pool play and eliminated it from title contention.
“You’ve got two sets of goals,” said coach Jack Childers. “We had the goal to get here, it’s been a great season. We had a goal to win it, then you’re disappointed.”
“My goal was to win it,” he added. “So I’m disappointed.”
Against Mililani, six Western pitchers combined to issue 11 free passes, including 10 walks.
Western also recorded 11 walks and hit two batters in its pool play opener loss Saturday.
“I don’t know if it was a two-week layoff,” Childers said. “We had a substantial layoff, but we still worked out, we still played. I can’t answer that question, why we don’t throw strikes, why we didn’t throw enough strikes.”
Mililani led 2-0 after the top of the second, but Western rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the frame. Brett Coons led off the inning with a single, and scored on Zach Brown’s triple. Brown scored on a groundout by Kaden Vanderwerf.
From there, the bats went silent. Mililani pitcher Ryne Oshiro retired nine straight batters, including striking out four in a row. Western didn’t manage another hit until Tristan Wallace singled off the outfield wall with one out in the fifth.
“He had a good breaking pitch,” Childers said of Oshiro. “A slider.”
In the meantime, Mililani’s offense broke out, highlighted by a three-run home run by Mathew Inaba.
With two losses — both against two-win teams — Western cannot advance to bracket play, including the consolation round. The top two teams from each division advance to the championship bracket, while the third-place teams play in a consolation bracket Thursday.
Western, with one game remaining against the 3-0 representative from New England, is locked into a fourth-place finish.
But Childers still wants to go out with a bang. That’s what he told his players after the game.
“I said, ‘If tomorrow is our last day, let’s have our last game a win,’” he said.
Western plays New England at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.