The Massapequa Coast Little League team met Friday night in South Williamsport, Pa.
Honolulu Little League started the game with a literal bang, throwing a combined no-hitter in a 12-0 penalty for the Long Island club.
The game ended after the fifth inning with mercy rule, as Honolulu scored in every frame.
“The kids are clearly disappointed, and rightly so,” Massapequa manager Roland Clark told The Post after the outing. “But the look I got from the kids in the dugout is that they don’t want to go home. I told them, ‘When you leave this stadium, you will be met by your parents, friends and family. This game is ready. We just have to prepare for Sunday’s game.’ ”
Massapequa will play its next match in the double elimination tournament on Sunday (2pm, ABC) against the winner of a Saturday night game between the teams from Hollidaysburg, Pa., and Middleboro, Massachusetts. Honolulu will rest until Monday night, when it faces the team from Pearland, Texas.
On Friday, Honolulu’s leadoff hitter, short stop Kekoa Payanal, knocked pitcher Joey Lionetti’s third delivery of the game over the wall of left field for a homerun, giving his team a quick 1-0 lead.
In the second inning, first baseman Tau Purcell Cohen Sakamoto drove home with an RBI single to give Hawaii a 2-0 lead.
Initially, Massapequa held off a potential offensive attack with a solid outfield 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 rough night for Lionetti, who had thrown a no-hitter in a 4-0 win over Toms River East last Friday to take Massapequa to the Little League World Series.
Honolulu’s star pitcher Jaron Lancaster struckout seven in only three innings before resigning for Sakamoto, who ended the game.
Lancaster led off the third inning with a homerun over the wall in midfield to make it 3-0.
Honolulu added three more runs in the fourth. Payanal made his second homerun, a two-run shot. Lancaster tripled to the 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 while the Honolulu juggernaut added six more runs and said aloha for the night.
The crushing loss underscored Clark’s central philosophy of the season: developing thick skin through adversity.
“We’ve been working on mental preparation this season so they know how to mix the good with the bad,” Clark said. “We have learned lessons from every setback and it has made us stronger.”
Clark, who said his squad needed to come out with more aggression at the plate on Sunday, also pointed his hat to Honolulu.
“The two pitchers for Hawaii were there in speed. [The team] has this reputation. Everyone on campus is talking about it. The guys say, ‘Wow, we’ve been beaten by a better team tonight.’ ”
The manager added that events during this year’s tournament, such as Utah’s Easton Oliverson who suffered a head injury after falling from his bed, have put the outcome into perspective.
“We are not looking for excuses. We’ll work on the positives,” Clark said. “We have a small advantage that the team we face plays on Saturday.
“In the end, it’s just a regular baseball game.”
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