Kawaihau looking for ‘heart’

KAPAA — Coach Troy Paik of the Kawaihau 10 and 11s all-stars said the state tournament is going to come down to heart.

“We find out today,” Paik said Monday during practice at the Main Diamond at the Mayor Bryan Baptiste Memorial Sports Complex. “Some of the boys have been missing because of summer activities. Today is the first time everyone is here together as a team. This is a good bunch of guys and we’ll see how they all pull together.”

The Kawaihau 10 and 11s all-stars will be participating at the Hawaii Little League state tournament this weekend on Oahu, opening play Friday against Ewa Beach.

“This is not District 1 where we play just within the district,” said Coach Karl Kimura. “District was when these boys played Minors and Majors. This is the state tournament with the winner advancing to the Mainland, and eventually the Little League World Series.”

Kaison Matsushima, one of four pitchers for the team, said he’s not really nervous about getting to the state tournament.

“Sometimes, I might be nervous,” the utility player said. “We have four pitchers, Raimana Huddy, Abraham ‘Bubba’ Torres, Brock Blackstad, and myself. We also hit the ball pretty good.”

Huddy said he’s been playing baseball since T-Ball days, perhaps 11 years.

“This is the first time I’m playing at the Majors level,” Huddy said. “I was two years with the Minors, and this team is pretty strong on defense. Hitting? Anything that’s a strike.”

Paik said all of the boys are utility players, meaning they are capable of playing anywhere on the field.

“These boys have lots of potential,” he said. “They’ve got a head for the game. It all comes down to heart.”

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