ST. GEORGE, Utah — A men’s senior softball team from Kauai, ExcessiveSpeed, brought home the silver medal in the 30th annual Huntsman Senior Games held Oct. 12-15 in St. George, Utah.
The only Kauai team aged 52 to 61-year-olds was comprised of five players from Kauai — Manager Jeffrey Kimoto, Bruce Laymon, Bully Balocan, Al Banach and Steve Kaui. The other players were former players from Kimoto’s California team, one from Canada and one player from Wisconsin. Laymon played with the team last year.
First time players Balocan, Banach and Kaui were quickly exposed to upper-level mainland softball players. Although the team was signed up for 50s AA level of competition, their first pool game was against Cornerstone from Oregon, a 50s AAA major-plus team.
Manager Kimoto complained to Huntsman softball director Ron Garrett why a lower level 50’s AA team had to play a AAA major plus team. Garrett replied, “someone had to.”
The Kauai team held up well against this high caliber team, but lost to the team from Oregon 21-11. Their second pool game was not any easier as they played Ballingham Golf and Turf, a sponsored major team from Las Vegas and St. George who had former Oakland A’s outfielder Jose Canseco on their roster. A large crowd gathered and watched Canseco play shortstop and hit two towering homeruns over 450 ft. The Kauai team was two runs short of beating Ballingham Golf and Turf 16-14.
The highlight of the tournament was when ExcessiveSpeed played its sixth game against Czech Farmboys from Canada. These two teams have history as Czech beat ExcessiveSpeed last year to advance. Down nine runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Canadian team was already celebrating thinking they had the game in their hands. The Kauai team fought back and with only one out, scored nine runs to win in the bottom of the seventh inning, 20-19.
ExcessiveSpeed had to beat the No. 1 seeded team Big Al’s twice to win gold. Kimoto’s team won the first game — beating Big Al’s 13-10 — but didn’t have enough gas to play an additional game and lost 18-5. Big Al’s took gold and the Kauai team brought home the silver.
“I’m proud and honored to play with these guys. Half of them never played with each other and I got lucky that the team gelled in such a short time,” said Kimoto, the 57-year-old manager and league coordinator for the Kauai Senior Softball Association.
“I was thrilled that family and friends of mine on this small island in Hawaii had an opportunity to experience such an amazing event,” said second year player Laymon.
Sam Boyd, a close friend of Laymon commented, “You come from a little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and you end up playing for the gold medal. You should be proud of yourselves for winning the silver medal.”
Other Kauai teams also participated in the Huntsman Senior Games.
Guy Ruiz had Paul Silva manage the Hanapa’a 60s team who placed fourth in the Men’s 60+ B Division and his Hapana’a 65s garnered gold in the Men’s 65+ Red Division.
Peter Rayno Jr.’s Hanamaulu team Kekili won bronze in the Men’s 65+ C Blue Division.
Dwight Fujii’s Kauai 65’s place seventh in the B bracket. Fujii’s other team, Kauai 70s, struggled this year in the C bracket and was done after five games.
Alejandros Lomosad’s Ka Uila 74’s won gold in the Men’s 74+ division.
In the Men’s 60+ A Division, Kauai Rebels tied for fifth place.
Anyone interested in playing in next year’s tournament may sign up at www.seniorgames.net.