Surfriders Coach Ishigo Pushes Practice, Performance

The month of May has been good to the Kailua baseball program over the long haul. The same can’t usually be said for February, however. Indeed, the Surfriders are traditionally slow out of the gate, a trend that longtime coach Corey Ishigo would like to change.

“It’s the same as usual,” said Ishigo. “We start off lazy and with bad attitudes. They have to buy into what we do. I think they usually start off trying to do things their own way at the beginning of the season, and eventually they see that it isn’t working and they begin to do what they need to do.”

Last season was another to remember for the Surfriders as they went 152, including a perfect 11-0 mark during the Oahu Interscholastic Association’s regular season. (Both losses came to Division I State Champion Pearl City.) Kailua opened its preseason two weeks ago with a pair of games and was to take part in the Iolani Preseason Tournament late last week and over the weekend. The Surfriders will now be idle from preseason games until their OIA regular-season opener March 3 versus Castle, giving them plenty of practice time.

Under the OIA’s current guidelines, teams have only about three weeks to hold a preseason.

“We want both practice time and games, but it is tough because of the schedule (time restraint),” he said. “You want to see the kids perform in both. We have some transfers, too, so we’re still trying to put the pieces together.”

Senior Kea Vierra has been the catalyst for the Surfriders to date, according to his coach. He batted .294 in 2011.

“He does most of the leading, and he’ll play everywhere for us,” Ishigo said of Vierra, a pitcher/catcher/outfielder. “He’s one of our better players and pitchers also. We’ll rely on him heavily. He’s a hard worker who does everything we ask.”

A pair of highly regarded transfers in both Bryce Ah Sam (Iolani) and Kaipo Oamilda-Scholtz (Kaiser) could also prove to be key additions. Ah Sam is a pitcher/outfielder, while Oamilda-Scholtz is a pitcher and infielder.

“They’re both tough,” Ishigo said. “They just have to learn our system and how we play.”

Both players should also help to bolster an already promising pitching staff.

“Our pitching has been better,” Ishigo said. “You need good pitching with good defense, and we’ve been making too many errors lately. Talent is meaningless if you can’t perform.”