Grove Farm goes for the fence

The Koloa Youth Baseball Association is taking registration for its T-Ball program for games which start in mid-October.

On Tuesday, Raymond Salazar, the Koloa Youth Baseball Association president, dropped by the Grove Farm Co. office in Puhi to accept a check for the association’s Fenceline Sponsorship program.

“They are so modest,” said Marissa Sandblom, a Grove Farm Co. vice president. “We agreed to be a sponsor for their Fenceline Sponsorship program. The amount they asked for was modest, and they are such a good program, we gave them a separate check for more. I’m sure they can use the extra money, and will put the extra funds to good use. They even took down the banners, cleaned and took care of the pennant to re-use.”

Salazar said Koloa Baseball Association played 54 baseball games on two Koloa diamonds during the 2016-2017 season, including 27 T-Ball games, 12 Rookie games, six Minors games, five Majors games, and four Babe Ruth 13-15 matches.

“They all provided excitement for players and fans,” Salazar said. “We have had positive comments on our Koloa Youth Baseball Association’s Fencline Sponsorship Pomp program as well as the banners themselves.”

Sponsorship funds are used for operating expenses and incentives for the various age group programs.

The early born 4-year-olds through late born 7-year-olds started practice with the T-Ball division.

Salazar said 43 children turned out for three Koloa teams — Braves, Diamondbacks, and Thunderbooms — playing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from Nov. 7 through Dec. 17 of last year.

“Our three teams played in Hanapepe Youth Baseball Association’s first Tournament of Champions on Nov. 5-6 in Waimea,” Salazar said. “We purchased a 20 x 20 tent and put it up to provide a rest area for our children while providing them with snacks and drinks. On Dec. 12, we provided a pizza dinner where we presented a trophy to each player. It is such a joy to watch the excitement in their faces when they receive their trophy.”

Koloa Baseball Association similarly honored its Rookie division for players 7, 8 and 9-year-olds which saw 30 players turn out for the Koloa Braves and Diamondbacks.

“Our two teams played in the Kalawai Youth Baseball Club’s Pinto Tournament during the Martin Luther King holiday weekend where we erected the 20×20 tent and provided snacks and drinks for our children during the three-day event,” Salazar said.

The Minors, for youth 10-and-under, and Majors, for youth 12-and-under, overcame challenges through the season which saw double-headers on Saturdays.

“At these age divisions, our Koloa Youth Baseball Association gets each player a Memory Mate from Andrew Rego Photography,” Salazar said. “Each one consists of an individual photo as well as a team photo.”

The Babe Ruth 13-15 division started following the completion of high school baseball.

“We had 15 players on our team with more wanting to play,” Salazar said. “Our games started on April 29 and ended on June 11 with four teams in our league. This year, we got to play under the lights as well as games on Friday nights. It was a good season, very rewarding as a coach and baseball fan to watch these young men work at excelling and playing with heightened desire.”

Salazar said Koloa also had six players on this year’s Kauai High School baseball team, five of whom were a part of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II state championship.

“Two of the five — sophomores — played major roles with significant playing time in helping their team through the tournament, and ultimate championship,” the Koloa Baseball Association president said. “We have video of them on our Koloa Youth Baseball Association Facebook page.”

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