Surfriders: Some Summer Baseball Players In Doldrums

American Legion League win-loss records don’t usually cause Kailua baseball head coach Corey Ishigo to lose sleep, given that the summer Surfrider program is all about development. The numbers in his dugout, on the other hand, were a concern.

“It’s hard to win with a lack of commitment,” said Ishigo. “We had an average of 10 players (per game)

for most games. It was a nightmare. Some kids think because they were a starter, they’ll continue to be. But if you don’t continue to work, there are other players who continue to get better. We have to move on and look for players who are committed, even if we have to go with younger ones.”

Kailua took a 6-7 record into last weekend, when it was to finish its 18-game ALL season. The team was coming off a solid spring that saw it go 13-6 en route to another appearance in the Division I state baseball tournament during what was supposed to be a rebuilding year because of Kailua’s youthful roster. Key components of that group are Brendan Odo, Keiki Kahahele-Santos, Matt Hanano and Dustin Imanaka.

“The guys who came every day this summer got better, and the ones that didn’t come, didn’t get better. Those four were here improving. Brendan is one of those kids who understands the process — and that to be good, you have to work hard.”

Odo’s play has been a bright spot. A starter in the infield since the midway point of his freshman year, Odo also batted clean-up in the last half of the ALL season. “He’s a hard worker,” Ishigo added. “He didn’t come in that way. He started to work hard at the end of his freshman year. He’s self-motivated. He’s not the biggest or the strongest; he just prepares well and works really hard to get the most out of himself.”

Despite a slim roster, the ALL slate offered Kailua underclassmen the chance to log needed game experience.

“Just to see live pitching is always good for the players,” Ishigo said, “and all of our pitchers’ velocities went up. We’re trying to develop and get faster and stronger. If everyone had come out, we could have done better. When a team commits to playing, it’s a lot easier (as a coach).”