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Kailua’s Got Skills, Character

For Kailua’s baseball coach Corey Ishigo, developing character is as important as developing skill level on his Surfrider teams.

Two weeks into the 2014 OIA Red East season, Ishigo’s current group is displaying both. “This is a close group, and they do all of the right things on and off of the field,” he said. “It’s been a pleasure to coach these guys.”

The team also is buoyed by a 4-0 start in the ultra-competitive Red East, no small feat since Kailua has one of the league’s youngest rosters. Ishigo has put less stock in his team’s record than its dayto-day progress, however, noting the upcoming schedule.

“Our 4-0 (record) could turn to 4-4 in our league, so the record doesn’t matter at this point. We have Roosevelt (last weekend), Kaiser (at home at 3:30 p.m. today (March 26), Castle (at home Friday) and Moanalua next – that’s four tough ones in a row.

“We’re fortunate to be 4-0,” he added. “There’s so much more I think we can do to be better, but our pitching and defense have been pretty good so far.”

Kailua had nine freshmen last year, when it took third in the OIA Red en route to an appearance in the Division I state baseball tournament. Most have settled into key roles as sophomores, but Ishigo stressed the players are focused on the now rather than the future. “Our time is now – we can’t wait,” he said. “They all played varsity last year, so they’re expected to do well.”

Kailua’s four league wins came versus Castle (6-3), Moanalua (7-3), Kalani (2-0) and Kalaheo (16-4).

Ishigo had high praise for seniors Royce Komesu and Peter Kanoho. Komesu was the winning pitcher in both the Castle and Kalani games, while Kanoho was batting .444 with six stolen bases in three appearances to date.

“Royce is our only senior pitcher – he’s had two good outings so far. He throws many different pitches for strikes, and can throw them anywhere in the count, which has been helpful to us.

“Peter is hitting the ball pretty well,” he added of Kanoho, who’s been batting in lead-off spot for Kailua. “He’s been getting on base a lot for us.”

Offensively, Ishigo is looking for the team to maximize its opportunities further, citing base-running miscues as an issue.

“We’re aggressive, but sometimes we’re overly aggressive,” he admitted. “Being smarter is what we’re focusing on. We want to keep that aggressiveness but be smarter.”

Following this week’s home dates with Kaiser and Castle, the schedule has six more contests: April 2 at Moanalua, April 5 versus Kalani at Kahala Field, April 9 versus Kalaheo at Kailua District Park, April 9 versus Kalani at Stevenson Middle, April 16 at home versus Roosevelt, and April 19 at Kaiser High.