KAPAA — When the Kawaihau Majors All-Stars leave for the district tournament, Sam Nakata won’t be there.
“Sam has been helping the boys,” said Kawaihau Majors coach Ken Nagahisa. “He plays with the championship Kauai High School baseball team and has been helping the players get ready for the Hawaii Little League District tournament. He even helped train the Minors All-Stars, who finished fourth overall, during their district tournament appearance. It really helps because he’s young and the players look up to him as a mentor.”
Nagahisa said he wants Nakata to go with them, but the high school student is firm about staying home.
Kawaihau Majors All-Stars will leave with 13 players and three coaches when they open play Friday in Kailua, Oahu against Kahaluu starting at 1 p.m.
Nagahisa said if Kawaihau wins, they will face the winner of the Kailua and Kaneohe match at 4 p.m. Friday.
“There’re just four teams in the district tournament,” Nagahisa said. “If everything goes according to the way we want it, hopefully we can win the first two games. That way we get a day off before the Monday championships. If we lose one, we play all the way with no break.”
Nagahisa said this year’s team is a “rebuilding” squad with a lot of young players.
“We’re going to have to win on offense,” Nagahisa said. “Pitching is by committee with every one about equal and one, maybe two players being able to do a little more on the mound. We just need to outscore the opponents to win. We’ll give it the best shot we can.”
The winner of the district tournament advances to the Hawaii Little League State tournament scheduled to start July 16 in Hilo. The winner of the state tournament advances to the Western Regional on the Mainland.
“It’s up to the players,” said Dustin Telles, a Kawaihau Majors All-Stars coach. “If the players play like they can, we can get there. We always work with them to play like they’re capable.”