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East // East Oahu Sports

Standout Falcon Nears End Of Prep Career In Summer Ball

Royce Yamamoto. Photo from Yamamoto family

Kalani’s Royce Yamamoto always was well aware of his eligibility clock ticking during his prep career with the Falcons. If anything, he can attribute his notable work ethic to wanting to soak up every moment of playing baseball.

“Baseball never stops – it is pretty all-year-round for me,” admitted Yamamoto. “The last four years went by pretty fast. The first two were more of a learning process for me. I had to get up to

varsity level. The speed of the game is different.”

Said longtime Kalani head coach Shannon Hirai: “He has been one of the most responsible players we’ve had here. When we first got him, we didn’t know where to put him. He was still growing into his body then. He’s gotten better and better each year. He puts in the hard work.”

Yamamoto blossomed over the past two seasons at first base, earning Second Team All-Conference honors as a sophomore in 2012 and First Team honors this spring after hitting .317. (Teammate Sean Romo also made the First Team.) “I was surprised by (the honor) because there are a lot of players in the East who are good,” Yamamoto said. “I felt like everyone was equal with everyone.”

He currently is competing for Falcon Baseball in the 19-and-under division of the American Legion League. The Club will play 20 games, leading up to the beginning of the ALL state tournament July 24. The winner there will advance to Western Regionals in Glendale, Ariz., Aug. 8-12, with the Regional winner moving on to the ALL World Series in Shelby, N.C., Aug. 16-20. For Yamamoto, the Legion season “is pretty much it for me,” he said of his baseball career. He will enroll at Kapiolani Community College this fall.

As at Kalani, Yamamoto wants to go out as a winner, given that baseball has been something of a lifestyle to date. “My dad (Stewart) had played baseball (at Kaimuki High), and he always wanted me to play. I tried it at 5, and I really started liking it.

“I think we have a good team,” he added. “There will be good competition at the (state) tournament, so it will be fun to see how everything turns out.”

The Club’s roster is made up mainly of Falcons, but there also is a sprinkling of Mid-Pacific and Iolani players currently on the roster. “It’s been a good experience to play with guys from other teams.”

Falcon Baseball defeated Moanalua 5-3 last week in its ALL opener. The team returns to action at 4 p.m. Wednesday at 4 p.m. in a game with Castle.

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