Dragonflyz flying off island

LIHUE — The Lihue Dragonflyz, a local youth softball club, will be competing at this year’s Maui Kamehameha Day Invitational Tournament that begins Thursday.

The club will field a 10-and-under team and a 12-and-under team to play against clubs from Maui and Oahu. Twenty-three players will represent Kauai.

Twelve-and-under team head coach Jojo Janicki said this will be the club’s second time competing at the Maui event, and this year will be the first that the club will take two teams.

“It was a good experience for the players and the coaches,” Janicki said during Monday’s practice at Isenberg Park. “Just want to get them better prepped for the girls that we’re going to be playing with up in Maui.

“The girls that we’re going to be facing are club ball teams. We just started this club ball league (three years ago). The teams that we’re going to be competing against, they’ve been together for 10 years,” the Dragonflyz coach added.

Kamalei Tanaka, 12, has played softball for about five years and has played with the Lihue Dragonflyz club for three years. She competed at last year’s tournament as well.

“It’s pretty good. (We learn) the basics — just how to field and hit,” Tanaka said.

“It’s pretty challenging,” she added about the Maui tourney. “The girls are bigger. … Just be ready for the balls to come faster and harder.”

Tanaka also mentioned her favorite softball player is fellow Kauaiian and former University of Hawaii standout Jessica Iwata.

The first two days of play of the four-day affair will determine seeding. Double-elimination play will begin Saturday, said Janicki.

“They’re very excited to go. Most of these girls have never traveled with a team to go and play. We got some girls that we took last year that’s on this team,” he said. “The new girls that we got this year, they’re pretty stoked on going up there and getting the opportunity to play against other ball players.”

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