LIHUE — The Kauai Protect Our Nation’s Youth 13 baseball team was just one pitch away, said Kirk Correa Friday.
The Kauai PONY 13 baseball team arrived home to an appreciative audience of parents, siblings and friends after being relegated to third place in the PONY West Zone Regional Tournament in Fullerton, Calif.
After winning its two opening games, the Kauai PONY 13s suffered its first loss to Jurupa Pony League.
“The consolation is that Jurupa went on to win the tournament,” said Jerry Nishihira, a team parent who accompanied the team to California. “Jurupa, under coach Rolando Ernesto Correa, and La Mirada Baseball Association, under coach Scott Anderson, were the two strongest teams at the eight-team tournament.”
Nishihira said the Kauai boys played well, getting past Long Beach Pony, a favored team at the tournament.
“The best part of watching these boys was how they all grew together off the field,” Nishihira said. “They all came together, and if you saw them, they were like brothers.”
Kirk Correa, the team’s business manager, said the return home marked the end of a long season for a lot of the boys.
“Their season started in August as a traveling team,” Kirk said. “A lot of them went on to become all-stars, and then getting back to the PONY 13s for this tournament.”
He said the boys played well and were ready to go further, but the ball doesn’t always bounce the right way.
“We were just one pitch away,” Kirk said. “Maybe the next time.”
Team members include Kaiolohia Perreira Alquiza, Blaise Banquel, Chayse Basuel, Tyus Camalliri, John Deblin, Chase Ibia, Christopher Ishikawa, Charles Lopez III, Jance Medeiros, Elijah Nishihira, Mikah Nonaka, Aaron Renaud, Wentworth Rivera III, Cody Taniguchi, and Thomas Yam.
Coach is Dallas Correa, Manager is Nick Alquiza and Kirk Correa is the Business Manager.
• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.