Surfriders Slowly Taking Shape On Baseball Diamond

Kailua’s fourth-place finish at last May’s Division I state baseball tournament was all the more noteworthy in that the Surfriders were a sophomore-dominated team.

Two weeks into preseason now, longtime head coach Corey Ishigo hasn’t seen a carry-over in momentum from last spring.

“We’re a little behind schedule,” he said. “We’re not in mid-season form yet. We’ll get better as it goes on. We’re going to have to, or it isn’t going to be much of a season.”

Kailua went 13-6 overall in 2014, which included winning the OIA East crown 9-3. The team finished as the OIA’s runner-up to Campbell at the league tournament last May.

While Kailua has looked to get on solid footing in recent days, its preseason schedule has been as demanding as any team’s in the state, with Mililani, Saint Louis and Mid-Pacific as its initial opponents.

“We lost all three, and there weren’t many bright spots,” said Ishigo, “except for Brendan Odo’s and Joey Cantillo’s hitting.”

A second baseman, Odo was named an OIA East Second Team All-Star as a sophomore last year after batting .313. “He’s hitting the ball pretty well,” Ishigo said. “He works hard not just during the season, but throughout the year. He plays second, but we can play him anywhere.”

Cantillo is a sophomore left-handed pitcher, who is coming off a stellar freshman campaign that saw him make seven appearances in 2014. He logged 25.3 innings with an ERA of 1.98.

“He’s No. 1 or 2 right now (in the pitching rotation),” said Ishigo, who was named Red East’s Co-Coach of 2014. “He’s improved his throwing throughout the year and probably gained eight to 10 miles (per hour) on his fast ball. He’s also hitting the ball well. He’s one who dedicates the whole year to baseball.”

When not on the mound, Cantillo is usually at first base, but “he can play outfield if we need him to,” said Ishigo, who also disclosed that Kailua’s “other No. 1 or No. 2 pitcher will be a freshman.”

The Surfriders were to play four games over the past week as part of their appearance in the Iolani Pre-Season Tournament. The team returns to pre-season action at 9 a.m. Saturday at home versus Punahou of the ILH.

“Some guys are hitting, our pitching has been OK, and our defense has been OK. The rest of the team’s batting is what is keeping us down.”

Kailua begins OIA East play March 4 at home against Kaiser High.