Diversity Of Talent Opening Up OIA Red West Baseball
The parity on display within the OIA Red West this spring guarantees that baseball teams already are in playoff mode. Add Mililani to the mix. The youthful Trojans have already had their share of epic battles with mid-season only now approaching.
“Everyone is beating up everybody in the West,” head coach Mark Hirayama said. “With only 12 games, every game is important. It all comes down to execution. We just have to continue to compete, which is what we keep preaching with the kids. We’re young and still trying to learn to finish out games.”
The Trojans probably deserved a better fate than their 2-3 start, but with the race so competitive, a No. 1 or No. 2 seed for the OIA’s post-season tournament at the end of next month is very much within reach if they can put together a win streak during the last six games.
To date, they dropped a pair to league-leader Pearl City (5-4 and 6-3) and a road-game to Waianae (7-3), while both wins came in a sweep of a good Campbell team (4-2 and 7-6). The Trojans, who were to play a doubleheader against Leilehua over the weekend, host Kapolei in a twin bill at 11 a.m. this Saturday. Mililani will close out its season against Aiea April 13 and 14.
A clean bill of health may aid in Mililani’s playoff positioning. The Trojans have been without pitcher Christian Namoca and infielder/pitcher Troy Kakugawa in recent weeks, but both have been progressing, according to the coach. “Christian just started throwing again, and Troy is back to swinging the bat. They’re close (to being back in the lineup).”
“We’re still a work in progress,” he added. “We have a big roster, and we count on everybody. We haven’t had one player stand out. We’ve been trying to play well as a team, and we’ve done a good job of picking up the slack for the players who are injured. We’ve been in every game. We’re still learning how to win.”
Like the Trojans, Saturday’s opponent, Kapolei, has also had its share of high-drama games so far. The Hurricanes, who began 2-3, have already played in three games decided by a run or less. They swept a pair from Leilehua and lost their other one-run decision to Aiea. Kapolei is led by Trey Kamachi, who is regarded as one of the top pitchers in the state. He is likely to get the start in one of Saturday’s games.