Back in play

  • Contributed photo

    Frank Ruiz stops for a photo while attending a recent JV Waimea High School and Kapaa High baseball game.

  • Contributed photo

    Frank Ruiz takes a photo with the Waimea JV baseball team at a recent game.

KEKAHA — Frank Ruiz has been an athlete and sports nut all of his life — particularly baseball and softball.

He played as a teenager for the “Kekaha Rican’s” as part of the Kauai Community Baseball League, and continued on into his adult years volunteering to umpire for games and played with the West Kauai Senior League.

Ruiz officiated Pop Warner and high school football games, as well.

He spends his days now as a long-term care resident at the Kauai Care Center.

But recently, the Kekaha man was on the diamond once again, attending the JV baseball game between Waimea High School and Kapaa High School.

“He is an avid sports fanatic having been an athlete himself, he often watches sports and events on television from the comfort of his scooter,” said Brandi Hori-Moises, administrator at Kauai Care Center. “When offered to go and watch a live sports game that afternoon, he gladly accepted.”

Ruiz said it was a great time.

“I haven’t been to a game in a very long time,” Ruiz

said Friday. “(It) brought back memories when my sons played softball.”

Last December, the Waimea High baseball team participated in a community service project at Kauai Care Center to help with the residents’ holiday celebration luau.

Friday, they welcomed Ruiz with open arms again — they even pulled him out onto the field for a team photo and presented him with a baseball cap.

“That just made my day; I nearly was in tears with happiness. I want to thank the Waimea High School Baseball team and Coaches for such a wonderful experience,” Ruiz said.

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Jessica Else, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or at jelse@thegardenisland.com

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