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Sports & Fitness // Keeping Score
Bob Hogue

Manti And Other May Sports News

When Manti Te’o, the newest member of the San Diego Chargers, reports to rookie mini camp this week (May 10-12), you can be assured he can’t wait to make his first tackle. It’s been four long months since his disastrous game in the Sugar Bowl and the unfortunate fake girlfriend story that followed. As a big fan of Manti, I’m excited he’s finally back on the field, too.

I was in San Diego when the news broke that he had been drafted by the Chargers. The jokes started almost immediately. “Oh, now he’ll be much closer to his girlfriend,” I heard someone say. “Just think of the imaginary sellouts we’re going to have,” quipped another. It went on and on like that. You might think all of this is mean-spirited, but truth be told, Manti has to live with it.

I wish there was some way he could poke fun at himself about it. Not sure how, but self-deprecating humor often works well. As soon as we all can have a good laugh about it in positive way, and as soon as Manti starts making big plays in a Chargers uniform, the story will move on …

Speaking of moving on, the HHSAA state baseball championships are this week on Maui and Oahu. The Division I tournament is May 8-11, Wednesday through Saturday, at Iron Maehara Stadium on Maui. The Division II tournament is May 9-11 at Hans L’Orange Field in Waipahu. Waiakea is the defending D-I champion, and Waipahu is the defending D-II champ.

Ichiro “Iron” Maehara was a longtime baseball player, league organizer, parks director and Major League Baseball scout from Maui. He was a well-known player before and after World War II, playing local ball and against military teams. His baseball knowledge so impressed Dodgers head scout Red Adams that he hired Iron as a bird dog and later as a full-time scout. Iron’s biggest coup as a scout was signing Sid Fernandez to his first contract …

Meanwhile, I’d never looked up the story on Hans L’Orange before. Turns out, he wasn’t a baseball player, but the man responsible for the field being built in the first place. Back in the 1920s, when Waipahu was a sugar town, L’Orange was the manager of Oahu Sugar Company. He often saw his workers playing ball along gravel roads or in empty fields, so he persuaded his bosses that they needed a real place to play ball. The baseball field was carved out of several acres of cane fields in 1924. First known as Oahu Sugar Company Field, it was named in L’Orange’s honor decades later …

Finally, three Oahu tennis teams will be on the Mainland this week hoping for a shot at the national title. The BYU-Hawaii women’s team, plus the men’s and women’s teams from Hawaii Pacific University, are both ranked in the top five in the nation going into the NCAA Division II championship tournament in Surprise, Ariz., near Phoenix.

Based on how the brackets are laid out, it will be no surprise if the BYU-Hawaii women and HPU women reach the semi-finals. They’ll face very stiff competition if they make it to the Final Four, but there’s a chance for an all-Oahu finale …

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