Pikai Winchester, Tanner Tokunaga, Khade Paris are all household names now, but who is Leonard “Lenny” Fabro?
That was the point made by Kaua‘i County Council member Ron Kouchi, yesterday, when he introduced a commendation celebrating the achievement of the Waipi‘o Little League team which defeated the team Mexico in the Little League World Series Championship in Williamsburg, Pa., last month.
Fabro is the president of the Waipi‘o Little League which, en route to its title of world champions, galvanized the community and provided excitement for the entire state, council members agreed.
But beyond that, Fabro is a 1980 graduate of Waimea High School, Kouchi said. His mother Rosita, celebrating her birthday as well, joined Fabro and Waipio team manager Timo Donahue in accepting the council accolades.
Donahue said the Waipi‘o team’s victory in the state Majors tournament was the third consecutive title, and in the two other tournaments, Fabro was part of the coaching staff.
The young members of the team themselves were not in attendance to receive the recogntion.
“Lenny and I have been coaching kids since they were 5 years old,” Donahue said. “And it would have been different if Lenny was still coaching with us when we won the title.”
JoAnn Yukimura said the people are grateful for the work coaches do, especially in helping the kids be the best they can be.
Jay Furfaro said he knows how much work coaching involves because he used to coach the Kapa‘a Mets, a team from the Kawaihau Community Little League program.
Mel Rapozo remembers a talk Donahue gave the players when they were losing, getting the team ready for a potential loss when the bats turned the game around.
“They had to win because they became Hawai‘i’s team,” Rapozo said. “Because they’re from Hawai‘i, they’re our team.”
Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, reflecting on her tenure as president of the Kawaihau program, said the president of a league displays extreme commitment because the Little League program is totally volunteer.
Kouchi said, “The Waipi‘o Little League team was a great ambassador for the state, showing people that where Hawai‘i goes, the state goes.”
The Little League team defeated Mexico 12-3, on August 24.
Since then, Governor Linda Lingle has recognized the team with a proclamation declaring that day “Waipi‘o Majors Little League Day.”
Mayor Mufi Hannemann honored them with a “Parade of Champions” along with the Hawai‘i Olympions at Waikiki.