WAIMEA — “You’ve got to love this,” Bradley Chiba, president of the Lihue Baseball League, said Sunday. “We (the Lihue Dodgers) weren’t here last year, but we made it this year.”
The Dodgers were one of four teams, an increase from the two teams at last year’s tournament, from the LBL participating in the Second Tournament of Champions T Ball tournament presented by the Hanapepe Youth Baseball League at the Waimea Athletic Field.
The tournament opened Saturday with 14 teams registered, and continued through Sunday afternoon, with all of the players having the opportunity to enjoy the bounce houses, which sprouted on the park following tournament play. Each team was guaranteed at least two games on each day, and Divian Chiba of the Dodgers was proclaimed the winner of the special home run derby held Saturday between games.
“He was five-for-five,” Bradley Chiba said. “Five big shots. Each player in the derby was allowed five swings.”
Irving Soto of Kauai Community Federal Credit Union was enjoying the tournament along with Brian Yamase of First Hawaiian Bank.
“This is such a great tournament,” Soto said. “The kids and the coaches are doing such a great job out there. It’s so nice to see all these coaches volunteering their time to teach the youngsters how to play the game as well as good sportsmanship.”
The 14 teams broke up to play on four designated fields, each one sponsored by a Kauai County Council member, including Arthur Brun, Derek Kawakami, Ross Kagawa and Arryl Kaneshiro. A host of other sponsors ensured that youngsters were properly fed and shaded from the broiling Westside sun.
Yamase was watching his version of the Hanapepe Cubs on the field, noting that it was nice to see the Hanapepe Youth Baseball League get an event like the tournament associated with its program.
“We are so fortunate to have generous community sponsors,” said HYBL coach Alden Pablo. “The teams are having fun, and that would not happen without our sponsors who enjoy seeing the kids have fun while learning. The teams are already talking about next year.”
Teams involved in this year’s Tournament of Champions included three versions of the Hanapepe Cubs — A, B and C — the Kekaha Angels, the Waimea Blue Jays, the Koloa Diamond Backs, the Koloa Athletics, the Kalawai Blue Jays, the Kalawai Angels, the Kalawai Yankees, the Lihue Braves, the Lihue Nationals, the Lihue Dodgers and the Lihue Diamond Backs.