Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022 |
Share this story
The Kauai Aces, a local Pony League 12-and-under baseball team, won a qualifying tournament on the Mainland to earn a spot at a national competition.
“The team that we have, these bunch of kids, the core, have been playing each other since the age of seven. We go to a lot of tournaments on the Hawaiian island, and we go to the Mainland. It’s a traveling thing,” said Aces head coach Kevin Akita. “We went last year to the same tournament — the Cranberry Classic in Las Vegas. We did really well last year, and we went back this year.”
The Aces claimed the top prize at the 2015 Cranberry Classic in Nevada during Thanksgiving weekend, defeating Southern Nevada, 4-3, in the final.
“That was a really tough game. We were down, 3-0, going into the fifth inning,” Akita said. “Coaches kept telling them to not give up. We had some big hits that got us back into the game. We ended up scoring four runs in that inning, and then our defense went on to hold them in the sixth inning. Came out winners.”
“It was tremendous. These kids battled so hard. Coming from behind and winning against the Nevada team, that was really big for them,” he added about winning that final.
The win gave the Aces a place in the upcoming United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) World Series, which takes place in July. Before that, however, the team must compete in one more qualifying tournament. Winning is not necessary because the team already won a qualifier.
The next event the Aces will compete at is to be determined, Akita said.
“We need to play a division up. That’s the way the rules go,” the Aces coach said. “There’s a whole bunch of tournaments all over. My ideal thing is we’ll go the closest one, maybe in California, and I’m thinking maybe (during) spring break.”
He added whether the team will make it to the World Series event depends on how the upcoming Pony League season and the following state tournament plays out. He is hopeful the team will make the trip.
“I need to meet with the parents and see where it’s going to take us,” he said. “But the parents are committed. They want to go. We want to go. We just have to see if our schedule fits.”
Akita added whether the team will make the World Series event, to have earned a spot is a big accomplishment.
“Going up and playing Mainland teams, it’s a bit more difficult. They have a whole lot of kids to select from. Most of the teams up there, you need to try out,” Akita said. “For us, we only have a handful of kids. Winning that whole thing with just a handful of kids, it’s a big accomplishment for these kids.”
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
By participating in online discussions you
acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful
discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments
are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines,
send us an email.