Red Raiders try out the lights

LIHUE — The Kauai High School baseball team got to work out under the lights at Vidinha Stadium Sunday night, the second time since the lights in the baseball field became operational.

“This is beautiful,” said Alan Balocan of the Red Raider coaching staff. “I took a photo from behind home plate after the sky got dark, Wednesday night, and the field looks real good.”

Hank Ibia, Kauai’s head coach said having the lights work is just another step toward having the Kauai Interscholastic Federation become a host for state Division II baseball.

“We’re going to work on the dugouts, next,” Ibia said. “We have four years to get everything in shape so the KIF can become considered as a host for the Division II state games.”

The team went through its routine of practices, including various drills, and even a scrimmage.

“It’s too bad the lights were not working, sooner,” said Aaron Uyeda, another coach. “We had two games scheduled under the lights in the season. If we get to the DII championships, the game starts at 7 p.m., so getting the boys used to playing under the lights is important. They need to know what to expect.”

Uyeda said the lights came on last week and the boys have had at least two opportunities to work under the lights before leaving for the Big Island.

“Wednesday night, everything went well,” Uyeda said. “There were a couple of dropped balls, but for the most part, the boys adapted well.”

Ricky Rego, one of the players, said things take on a different perspective under the lights.

“It’s a whole different perspective on how you see the ball,” Rego said. “Things like how it comes off the bat, and when it’s in flight. Having the workout under the lights definitely will help if we have night games at states.”

The family of Kauai player Kobey Dias had a different perspective on having the lights go on.

“This is great,” they said, watching the workout from the coolness of the evening. “We’re not sweating, and it’s nice and cool. Watching baseball at night is just one more thing we get to enjoy when it’s not so hot.”

Second-seeded at the Wally Yonamine Foundation Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II baseball championships, Kauai will take the field at the Francis Wong Stadium in Hilo at 11:30 a.m., Thursday against Radford in the quarterfinals.

A win against Radford will pit Kauai in another afternoon game, Friday when the winner of the No. 3 Kapolei and Konawaena meet at 4:15 p.m. The championship for Division II will be determined on Saturday starting at 7 p.m.

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