Banding together

  • Courtesy

    The Kauaʻi High School baseball team huddles after their last regular-season Kauaʻi Interscholastic Federation game against Waimea High School at Vidinha Stadium earlier this year.

LIHU‘E —Kaua‘i High School senior baseball player Keanu Silva is thinking about the present and the future.

Silva would like to finish his present with high school proms and his Red Raiders baseball team to challenge for a Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation championship.

Silva, like most seniors throughout the country, may have already seen events in his senior year forever canceled, but that hasn’t shifted the teammates’ focus.

With six to eight of his teammates, Silva has organized team practices to try to maintain team chemistry in the event they do get a chance to play again.

His other primary focus is his future.

Silva stated in an interview with The Garden Island that he would like to go to Arizona and play baseball.

With COVID-19 clouding his present situation, Silva’s new plans, like objects in a rear-view mirror, may be closer than they appear.

The Red Raiders entered the season with a lot of optimism under new coach Spencer Yates and gave everything they had in a 9-8 loss to a Waimea High School that finished second in the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association Division II tournament last year.

The Menehune lost only one starter from the 2019 team.

“It’s hard right now, not being able to play,” Silva said. “I try to make use of the home workout and work on stuff like that. I usually lift twice a week, but now, I haven’t been able to do much outside. I try to hit balls, maybe throw a little bit and run a couple of sprints, stuff like that.”

Red Raiders’ shortstop Nainoa Kane-Yates is trying to cling to his slim hopes they will have a season.

Working out is how Kaua‘i continues to maintain its team chemistry.

“It’s pretty hard because every day we’ve gone to school together, and going to practice after school is just like second nature,” Kane-Yates said. “All of a sudden, there is no practice or school. We just do what we do now.”

Kane-Yates, who is the son of new Red Raiders coach Spencer Yates, tries to maintain a routine.

“I wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, go outside, maybe play a little whiffle ball, and hit on the net in Koloa park at the batting cage or something,” Kane-Yates said. “That is pretty much what we are doing to maintain chemistry right now is continue to work out together when we can.”

Kane-Yates, who is from a baseball family that has produced two Major League Baseball players, including former MLB player Tyler Yates and current MLB star Kirby Yates, admits it helps to have his father Spencer as his coach.

“It helps because we can do drills, and we have a coach that knows a lot,” Kane-Yates said. “To have someone with that kind of knowledge in the household allows us not to have to go anywhere.”

Teamwork, dream work

Senior left fielder Avery Casticimo hopes the team can stay together as much as possible through the workouts.

“We are just talking together, and trying to get together most of the time,” Casticimo said. “We started the season as one, and that is what we’ve bought into from the coach since the start of the season.”

Casticimo wants his team to continue to be sharp in the event they get a chance to return to the diamond.

“It’s just a lot of hard work,” Casticimo said. “I’ve been working out, trying to keep my mental focus, working hard and trying to prepare myself whether the season continues or not.”

The players getting together are working out in Silva’s homemade gym.

“It’s been keeping us all together,” Casticimo said. “That was going to be an awesome season from the beginning. We had a great team together, with a great morale, and the chemistry was perfect. We were still holding strong.”

Casticimo hopes to carry on with the remainder of his high school plans.

“If this is the last baseball game I ever play, I’ll be upset about it, but will continue with life,” Casticimo said.

3 Comments
  1. Jill Friedman March 26, 2020 12:34 pm Reply

    The picture of the huddle is not encouraging. What is this coach thinking?


    1. behappy March 28, 2020 4:05 pm Reply

      Exactly! Why would you huddle and why would you post a photo of it? D i s t a n c e !


  2. Halala Coconana March 26, 2020 1:19 pm Reply

    Are we back to coverage that is throwing side eye hints about wah wah wah we don’t want to be in lock-down per Trump who wants everyone to return to normal by Easter, so he can say he is the risen Christ? When i saw this pic my heart did flip flops. Garden Island stop slipping you were fine for a couple of days and now you are back to the old soft back hand routine gas-lighting stuff. knock it off there are real lives at stake here. stop feeding the Denial Monster. Instead, why not highlight young people who are doing good things for humanity during this troubling time instead of kids whining they can’t play football for a few days while they save their Kupunas lives? Please focus on actual real journalistic integrity,m or hire some people who can. This focus on sports and why cant they play and when they can go back is just plain irresponsible. Get these guys an antibody test and get them out in the community helping the kupuna, not whining about this kind of irrelevant stuff. has this pandemic not taught any of you anything? Get out of your small lives and do something for others. Sheesh. Halah!


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