Waialua Baseball Hoping To Build On Last Year’s Success
One game may not a season make, as the old adage goes, but the Waialua baseball team is well-aware that a win against Radford today (March 26) could figure big in its season.
The Rams were one of three teams from the OIA White to earn a berth at the Division I state tournament last May, after all, and have the same look this spring. Waialua was only a few plays away from a state berth itself a year ago, making today’s road trip one of the most anticipated games of the OIA White season.
“Their program is very solid,” said head coach Terry Onizuka of Radford.
“We have three big games right now with Waianae (late last week), Nanakuli (last weekend) and Radford (on Wednesday). That’s a good stretch.”
Waialua is one of the league’s younger teams, with only one four-year senior, but the Bulldogs make up for their youth with talent. Only two years ago, they were in the DII state tournament when Onizuka’s current juniors were freshmen.
“They got a taste of it, and now they’re excited to try to get back there,” he said.
The Bulldogs opened White season play in impressive fashion recently, posting back-to-back road wins over both McKinley (8-6) and Farrington (6-5). “We’re off to a good start,” Onizuka said. “It’s a great group of kids, and hopefully we can develop into a good team. I’m really happy with how they’ve developed so far. I’m hoping we can get better and better.”
Waialua is not without veterans, however, at least in terms of playing time. Senior Taleon Lele is a four-year player, and juniors Kebi Dellatan, Jarrett Felix and Caelan Alejandro were all mainstays a year ago.
Lele, who was quarterback of the school’s football team, sets the tone, splitting time between pitcher, out-fielder and shortstop. “He’s a great kid who has a really great attitude and works hard,” Onizuka said. “I think he’ll move onto the next level and play some college ball.”
Lele also serves as the lead-off man in batting. “We’re trying to take advantage of his speed and his experience,” Onizuka explained.
Dellatan is the team’s catcher, while Alejandro is an outfielder/pitcher, and Felix pitches and plays first base.
“Kebi is a great leader and a good hitter; Caelan also has good leadership qualities; and Jarrett is a good hitter who’s developing into a good first baseman.
“Pitching is always a key, along with hitting,” Onizuka added. “Our pitching is coming along, but we still have to improve on our hitting.”
The back end of Waialua’s OIA slate shapes up nicely, as it will play three of its final four games at home, facing Farrington April 5, Kahuku April 9 and McKinley April 16.