Correa’s ‘giving back’ explodes

HANAPEPE — Dallas Correa, currently a senior at Pacific University, started doing the Garden Island Collegiate Showcase and baseball clinic as a way of giving back to the community.

Four years later, the collegiate showcase and clinic has exploded into a major event. More than a hundred young baseball and softball players converged for a day of learning and fun with 14 collegiate baseball and softball players as well as coaches from the University of Hawaii-Hilo and Hawaii Pacific University, Major League Baseball trainers and traveling team scouts.

“If you give a clinic, the players will come,” said Kirk Correa, Dallas’ father. “Last week, Dallas did a catcher’s clinic and had more than 20 young players coming out before the Waimea parade.”

Parents could watch as the young players worked with the collegiate players as well as Bob Campbell, a MLB hitting instructor, and Branden Kaupe of Wailuku, Maui. Kaupe is currently active with the Kingsport Mets in the Appalachian League, a minor league team for the New York Mets.

“I never had something like this while I was growing up,” said Lance Kaneko, a parent. “In our days, it was raw talent and whatever coach wanted to teach us. This is a wonderful thing to have for the kids.”

Art Tani, father of Graceland University player Taran Tani, said the clinic not only helps the young people, but it has helped his son, who hosts several similar clinics when he is in school.

“This is a wonderful event,” Art Tani said. “There are players who weren’t listed who also came out to offer their services. What a great way to give back.”

Among those were collegiate players Kawehi Ephan and Marie Beth Watanabe, both Waimea High School softball standouts who went on to collegiate play.

“Hanapepe Stadium is built so they can separate the girls for softball training while the boys do the baseball thing,” said Jay Watanabe, Marie Beth’s father and a Waimea High School softball coach. “It’s good the girls wanted to come out and help.”

Billy DeCosta was blown away by the response from the community.

“You know they’re not making money,” DeCosta said. “The registration fee was very reasonable, and they’re giving money to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Hawaii, and food to the food bank? This is definitely not for the money.”

Arthur Brun, a baseball official, prepared a free lunch for the clinic presenters after getting Dow Agrosciences, Syngenta Seeds, and Dupont Pioneer to chip in money for the food.

“It’s about supporting the community,” Brun said. “We bought everything through Ishihara Market.”

Lenny Rapozo, director of the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation, said this is only the start.

“Bob Campbell wants to teach people how to bat,” Rapozo said. “He’ll come if you want him. And having the coaches from the University of Hawaii-Hilo (they have two Kauai boys playing), and the HPU, how would you feel about a game between these colleges?”

Rapozo said the enthusiastic response from both the players and their parents gave him material to work with to arrange a match down the road.

Kirk Correa said he was pleased with how everything worked out.

“Of the 14 players leading the clinic, 12 of them came through one of these showcases,” Correa said. “Now that Dallas is a senior, he’s taken over doing a lot of the things for the clinic. After he graduates, maybe he’ll lead the clinic next year.”

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