LIHUE — The Garden Island Baseball Clinic opened with more than 50 players under windy and blustery conditions Monday at the Lihue Baseball Park.
“We have an awesome staff with some great players from Kauai helping these young players over two days,” said Kirk Correa, coordinator.
Chico Edralin, one of the spectators that lined the fences and crowded the grandstand, said this was commitment on the part of both players and parents.
“We had a lot more people watching when the clinic started,” Edralin said. “But when the showers came, a lot of them left. These kids are really committed, playing out in the rain. It is something to be able to get them out here, especially the day after Christmas.”
Larry Ephan, Waimea High School baseball coach and former Texas Ranger catcher, said he loves teaching the younger players.
“I didn’t know if the clinic was going to go on because when I left this morning, it was dumping, and I thought, ‘Oh wow, if it’s raining this bad on the Westside, it will be worse in Lihue,’ ” Ephan said.
But the rains held off to enable the players ages 9 to 14 to work through different skills under the guidance of collegiate players, coaches, and former high school players.
“This year, we changed the format to more specific position play because that’s what the parents wanted,” said Dallas Correa, assistant coach at the Hawaii Pacific University.
Most players will arrive around 5 p.m. with the skills portion starting at 6 p.m. at the Vidinha Stadium ball park.
Some of the coaches and players working with Kauai’s youth include Tyler Yates, a Kauai High School and the University of Hawaii-Hilo. He is the only Major League Baseball player, a pitcher, Dallas said.
Micah Furtado is a graduate of Kapaa High School and the Lewis & Clark State as well as a former Texas Ranger infielder; Kaeo Aliviado, a St. Louis graduate and a University of Hawaii center-fielder, plays with the Evansville Otters Kewby Meyers, a graduate of Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama and the University of Nevada, players with the Tampa Bay Rays; and Dane Fujinaka, a Mid Pacific Institute and Sacramento State University graduate, is an assistant coach with Menlo College.