Kapa‘a High School senior Travis Nakamura doesn’t let his height get to him.
“I’m only about 5’ 5” or 5’ 6,” he said. “But I’m not the type that’s scared of bigger players. Size isn’t a factor.”
The baseball team’s lead off batter and center fielder does, however, admit that being a little taller could be helpful.
“It would probably help me a little better if I want to play sports in college,” he said.
Kapa‘a’s head baseball coach Destry Iseri-Carvalho said that even though he may not be as tall or big as his baseball and football teammates, he can definitely handle his own.
“He’s a leader,” Iseri-Carvalho said. “He may be small in stature but he always gives it 100 percent. He’s a spark plug and always gets the team going.”
Nakamura is a four-year veteran to Kapa‘a’s baseball program. Last year, Nakamura made the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation all-star team for baseball and football.
“He’s matured over the years,” said Iseri-Carvalho. “His speed is his strongest asset and he’s got a strong arm. Not too many teams will try to hit towards him because he’s got that strong arm and is so quick.”
Nakamura, 18, grew up in Wailua Homesteads and played in the Kawaihau Baseball League, Lihu‘e Baseball League and Pop Warner Football.
“I’ve been playing for a long,” he said. “Since T-ball time when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I’ve been playing for almost 13 years now.”
His most memorable game to date was while he and the Kawaihau baseball team were on O‘ahu for an all-star tournament.
“We took it the year before, but we couldn’t take it two years in a row when we lost by a couple runs. I’ll always remember that game,” he said.
But he’s not really worried about now. Nakamura is focused on the baseball team rebounding from a disappointing Round 1 finish.
“I want to win the second round,” he said. “Our hitting is good, but we have to cut down on our mental errors.”
He said the team is working on basic plays right now to help improve their skills and prepare for Round 2.
“We have to work on our defense,” he said.
Kapa‘a hosts Waimea High School this Saturday for a double-header.
Nakamura is looking at schools in California and is leaning towards Saddleback College to study electrician technology.
Nakamura sounds off on:
His favorite Major League Baseball team: “I like the Yankees. My dad and I watch the team so I like them.”
Pitcher Randy Johnson leaving the New York Yankees and going back to the Arizona Diamondbacks: “That kind of sucks. He’s like 7 feet tall.”
MLB’s steroid scandals: “I think guys that do steroids are fake. They should (get stronger) naturally.”
What he’d be playing if he wasn’t a baseball or football player: “I tried playing basketball, but it didn’t catch my eye. I’d probably be doing track if I wasn’t playing baseball or football.”
How he’d spend his time if he wasn’t an athlete: “I like the water. I body board so I like to go to the beach.”
• Lanaly Cabalo, sports editor, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or firstname.lastname@example.org.