HAMMOND | The Honolulu Saints have distinguished themselves as doing things first amid the Cal Ripken Major/60 World Series field.
They were the first team to score a run in Friday's pool-play opener against El Dorado.
They were the first team to get out of a bases-loaded jam.
They were the first team to hit a home run, then later became the first team to club a grand-slam.
And despite having to travel half a globe to get here, the Saints were the first out-of-region team to arrive in the area.
"We took off at 5:30 in the morning and arrived in the states at 6:30 at night," Saints manager Gerald Oda said of the loss of time when one travels great distances eastward. "We expected some jet lag, but our boys have pretty much recovered since."
That was verified with a convincing 8-1 win over El Dorado for the first win of the week-long series.
After two scoreless innings, El Dorado threatened to break the game open when it loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the third.
"I just stayed in my rhythm," said Saints starter Caleb Markwith, who proceeded to strike out the next two batters and got the third to ground out.
"I've been in situations like that before," said Markwith, who drove in the first runs of the series on the bottom half of the frame with a two-run double, and then was sent home himself when Dante Park homered to right-center.
In the fifth inning, Makana Murashinge also homered to right-center, this one good for four runs ... a granny ... to give the Saints, who were representing the Oahu Cal Ripken League as the Pacific Southwest Regional champion, an 8-0 lead.
Markwith pitched three innings while striking out six, walking one and yielding one hit.
"My elbow was a little tired, that's why I came out," said Markwith, who presented the Ron Tellefsen Player of the Game Award with Grant Griffis of El Dorado.
The Saints were backed up by some stellar defense, in particular from shortstop Aaron Toms, who took away three would-be El Dorado hits while ranging to his left, and had two doubles and two RBIs at the plate.
Not surprisingly, this is the team's and much of its entourage's first trip to the Midwest.
"We played in a tournament in Las Vegas, but most of the time when people from the islands travel to the mainland, it's to go to places like California, Florida, Disneyland ... not to places like Chicago," said Oda, whose team consists entirely of 11 year olds. "But I'm glad we had a chance to come our here, It's been a great experience."