Matsuoka Helps Push Kaiser Into State Softball Tourney

Rainelle Matsuoka at bat. Photo from the Matsuoka family.

The roster may list Kaiser softball standout Rainelle Matsuoka as only a sophomore, but she plays more like an upperclassman.

If anything, her performance in the recent OIA Division II title game showed her knack for making things happen when they count most, having delivered a home run and a double in that game to keep the Cougars in the mix, although they eventually lost 8-5 to Nanakuli.

Kaiser head coach Mitch Matsumoto has come to expect as much. “This girl is just a player, hands down,” he said. “She practices hard, plays hard, and then after practice, she practices some more. She’s one of those kids who can play any position.”

Matsuoka is currently batting .500 with 10 extra base hits to her credit, while playing catcher, shortstop, and pitching.

Next up for the Cougars (13-1) is this week’s Division II state softball championships on Maui. “I’m excited,” Matsuoka said of the state tournament. “I can’t wait. I’m really, really proud of our team. We’re all young. I have faith in them.”

Matsuoka recently took some time away from the practice field and her studies to visit with MidWeek‘s East Oahu Islander.

What is your earliest sports-related memory? When I started playing volleyball and softball in fifth grade. I struggled a lot. I really started to like the game and began to work with my dad (Carl) to improve myself. To this day, I still do extra work to improve myself.

Who has had the biggest impact on your life? My dad. He’s very hard-working, compassionate, and he never lets anything bother him. He pushes me, too. I really love that about him.

When did you know softball could play a big part in your future? When I traveled to Colorado after my freshman year and we had (college) scouts looking at us. It really made me serious about softball, and it made me realize that I can do it (play at the major college level someday).

What area of your game did you work on the most during the off-season? Right after the high school season I play club (softball), so we work on everything. I always do extra batting practice.

What film could you watch over and over? I can watch Wreck-It Ralph all the time.

What is in your iPod? I really like Ed Sheeran. His lyrics are really meaningful.

What is your least favorite household chore? Picking up the dogs’ doodoo. I have a Lhasa Apso named Gizmo and a mixed poi-dog named Pua.

What website do you go to the most? That’s a no-brainer – Instagram.

How do you like to spend your free time? Do you play video games? What are your hobbies? I have an Xbox360. I play Call of Duty and Gears of War. I also like to draw, and I read a lot.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I hope to be working in a stable job. Hopefully, I will be a nurse.

You are stuck on Kahoolawe and can have an endless supply of just one food. What would it be? I would say pasta. I love pasta.

Who would be your choice for a celebrity date on a Saturday night? (Actor) Ryan Reynolds from The Proposal.