After a successful season, Kauai’s first Babe Ruth All-star team will leave for Maui and the state tournament which begins Friday.
Gary Yates is coaching the team that consists primarily of the league champion Southside who earned the title by finishing the inaugural season with a 9-1 record supplimented by players from the Waimea squad.
Yates noted that two players from Kapaa, Jessie Noone and Kyle Newberger were also invited to be part of the squad, but for personal reasons, will not be making the trip to Maui to compete for the state title.
Waimea players include Clarence Aki, Rayson Cacal, Michael Ishibashi, Robin Correa, Mikey Yaris, and Shawn Yadao.
Southside team members rounding out the 17-player squad include the three Oketani brothers, Casey, Jake, and Shannon, Alec Reichle, Andrew Phillips, Travis Fontanilla, Scott Serizawa, Shawn Ogata, Curtis Matsumura, and Davis Murata.
Assistant coaches making the trip include Aaron Uyeda and Hank Ibia.
Yates scanned the field of players going through practice, noting how well the Waimea players were interacting with the Southside boys, commenting that the Kauai players should fare well at the state competition which he anticipates will have some good competition.
Waiakea High School, a contender for the HHSAA baseball title earlier in the year, is a relatively young team, Yates noted, and should provide some good competition; Maui will be fielding two teams, an 18 Under and a 16 Under squad, and that should also offer up strong players.
Kauai will enter the arena on Friday night playing the feature game starting at 7 p.m., but does not know who they will face until they get to Maui and the coaches meeting.
Alec Reichle and Mikey Yaris will headline the Kauai pitching stable with strong backup available in the form of Kirby Yates, Shawn Yadao, Shawn Ogata, and Robin Correa, all hurlers seeing action during the earlier KIF season.
Hitting will probably be one of the keys to getting through the competition successfully, and the squad has proven lumber in Clarence Aki, Scott Serizawa, the Oketani brothers Casey and Jake, and Shawn Ogata with a strong backup throughout.