A Record Hitting Streak At HPU
The hits kept falling in like clockwork: Hit. Hit. Hit.
Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit – 10 straight games – and they just kept coming. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit – 20 straight games! Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit – 30 straight. It was like an angel touched the ricochets that left his bat. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. For 34 straight games, all Derek Nakasato did was hit.
The Hawaii Pacific University outfielder smashed the all-time school record set previously by Blake Amaral (26 straight) by going 34 consecutive games with at least one hit before his new record streak was finally halted this past week against powerful Azusa Pacific. During this remarkable run, the former Saint Louis Crusader hit a whopping .417 (58-for-139), with 44 singles, 10 doubles, four triples and 37 RBIs.
“It’s been unreal – a once in a lifetime thing,” Derek tells me.
But Nakasato is no flash-in-the-pan player. He was a two-sport all-State, all-ILH athlete at Saint Louis, hitting nearly .500 as a senior, and he starred as a running back in the Crusader backfield. One of his closest friends is another former Crusader two-sport star, University of Hawaii outfielder Kaeo Aliviado. “We’ve been staying in touch through all of this. (Just recently), we went back to Saint Louis together to see the coaches and talk to some of the players.”
Nakasato is someone youngsters can really look up to. His personal story of fighting through family tragedy is a tale of tremendous perseverance. He grew up not far from Saint Louis, playing PAL baseball in Kapahulu and later in the KAC. He followed in the footsteps of his older brother Davin, who was a full decade older. Their parents, Gary and Iris, came to all their baseball and football games, and by the time Derek was almost 10 years old, Davin already was a football star at the University of San Diego.
Then, tragedy struck. “When I was in the fourth grade, my mom was diagnosed with a rare flesh-eating disease, and we lost her about two weeks later,” Derek says. “Mom and Dad were former high school sweethearts (from Kalani); they did everything together. And so, eight months later, he had a fatal heart attack.”
Davin came home from the Mainland and the family rallied around the two boys. Derek moved in with his aunt and uncle (Susan and Stephen Moriguchi of Honolulu). “They already had five kids, but I was always at their house. It was traumatizing for the entire family,” Derek recalls.
“It’s had a big impact on my life. When you lose someone close to you, you realize that you could go downhill, but we understood that there are things that are out of our control.”
Derek and his extended family kept a positive attitude. By the time he finished high school and received a baseball scholarship to HPU, Derek had moved in with other relatives, his Aunt Sandra and Uncle Brian Abelaye, in Kaneohe. His brother Davin graduated from college and now has a successful career with Bank of Hawaii. They fondly remember their mom and dad. “We were lucky we had such great parents,” he says. “Everything I do, I do for them. I want to make them super proud” – including hit and hit and hit some more, until records are smashed.