Sizzling Times In Summer Ball

With two teams competing in the American Legion League this summer, the Castle baseball program is investing in the future. The Knights also are finding that to be much to their liking as well – especially their 19-and-under team, which was 13-3 as of late last week, and already had clinched a playoff berth with three games remaining.

“This is the first time, I believe, that Castle has had two ALL teams, and that was my goal – to see if we could,” coach Rocky Fraticelli said.

The 17U team is akin to a junior varsity team with several incoming freshmen also taking part. Fraticelli’s 19U team is a mix of Castle players as well as recent graduates from Kailua, Saint Louis and Damien. Fraticelli’s brother Duane, who is Castle’s pitching coach, has longstanding ties to Kailua, having worked on Corey Ishigo’s staff.

“We look at ‘character kids’ or what I call good persons (first and foremost when assembling a team),” Rocky Fraticelli said. “(Duane) knows my style and the type of kid we’re looking for, and he knows a lot of the Kailua kids from his time coaching there.”

The Knights’ 19U team has thrived on its pitching, according to the coach, with an all-star staff that includes Kea Vierra (Kailua 2012), Jacob Cobb-Adams (Kailua 2010), Bryson Dymond (Kailua 2010) and the Knights’ own Christian Kapeliela.

“Our pitching has been outstanding,” Fraticelli said.

Kapeliela, who will be a senior in the fall, is poised to be ace of the staff next spring. He’s currently playing catcher, third base and spending some time at first base in addition to his pitching duties.

If all goes according to plan, Kapeliela figures to settle in permanently at third base, where Fraticelli envisions him having the biggest impact.

“Between now and next season, we hope to develop a catcher who can play full time, and we think we have him in Ryan Mohika.”

Mohika, who is playing for Castle’s 17U team this summer, will be a sophomore in the fall, but will be able to play JV before his varsity season months later. “Ryan has all the tools,” Fraticelli said.

(His older brother Alan also plays with Castle’s 19U team after a fine career at Damien. Another brother, David, had a stellar career as a Castle catcher earlier in the decade.)

Offensively, Fraticelli praised the play of Ryan McMonigle (Kailua 2011) and Andre Fraticelli (Castle 2013) in addition to Vierra.

“They’ve all been hitting the ball at a clip of .400-plus,” he said.

Castle’s 19U team was to close out its regular season Monday with a makeup game versus Kaiser. The Knights begin ALL playoffs July 18.