LIHUE — Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. declared Wednesday Team Kialoa Day after the young ladies captured the Hawaii Amateur Softball Association Junior Olympics Girls Under 14 Fast Pitch Softball Tournament in the C Division recently at the Central Oahu Regional Park.
“The players are to be congratulated for their outstanding performance, teamwork, and sportsmanship under the direction of Coach Francis Takasaki and Assistant Coaches Rodney Sasil, David Braun and Ferdinand Marcelino,” Carvalho said. “You proudly represented the Garden Island of Kauai and we acknowledge your outstanding athletic ability. Keep up the good work.”
Takasaki said some of the girls have been playing together for about six years when the team was first formed, practicing in the park behind the Ulu Ko subdivision in Lihue.
“This is an intact team,” Takasaki said. “Unlike Oahu where coaches go out and pull players from different areas, these girls are all together from the start. They may end up going to different high schools and face each other on the diamond, but when we play in tournaments, they’ll all come together as one team.”
Takasaki’s comments reflects the team name of Kialoa, which one parent said means “together,” or “steadfast.”
During the tournament, they finished with the top seed for their division. In 2012, Kialoa took the Under 12 division, and in 2011, the team finished fourth in the Under 10 division. During its appearance in 2013, Kialoa finished fifth in the Under 12 B Division before striking gold in 2014.
To reach its gold medal, Kialoa got past three Oahu teams, including No. 2 seed Hiki No Pono of Mililani, Island Angels of Moanalua, and Rip Tide of Pearl City.
“We were undefeated in the season,” said Jazlyn Rapozo, a first-year player. “We went to the state tournament and came home, undefeated.”
Funamura-Sasil, a player for six years with Kialoa, said there are only nine players, which means everyone is a starter.
“The best part of this year’s season was the cheerleading and meeting new friends,” the team’s catcher said. “The hardest part was playing on the 95-degree fields on Oahu.”
Sasil said the team has no corporate sponsors.
“Everything is from the coaches,” Sasil said. “The coaches got together and bought everything. There was no outside funding, no corporate funding, and we don’t even have a diamond.”
The team has one more year of eligibility in the Under 14 division and plans are underway for the 2015 tournament.
“It was fun,” said Rapozo, who pitches, plays center field and second base. “Right now, I need to learn how to play second base, better.”