Tokunaga, Sharks To ‘Play Ball’

It didn’t take long for former Pearl City High standout Tyler Tokunaga to make himself right at home at the next level with Hawaii Pacific University’s baseball team.

As a freshman two years ago, he burst onto the PacWest Conference scene like a meteor, hitting .376 with four doubles and two triples for the Sharks, while scoring 37 runs and recording 21 RBI.

Last year, he continued his upward mobility by batting .348 and driving in 25 runs to go with eight on-bases.

Tokunaga’s efforts did not go unnoticed in league circles, as he recently was named to the Preseason All-PacWest Team as a shortstop.

The Sharks were predicted to finish fifth in the PacWest in the preseason and received votes toward the top 10 in the West Region.

During his high school days at Pearl City, Tokunaga was named OIA Red West Player of the Year in a vote of league coaches following his senior season in 2012.

He was on two OIA title teams at Pearl City as well as a key member of the Chargers’ 2011 Division I state championship team.

Tokunaga’s younger brother, Tanner, is a freshman outfielder on the Sharks’ roster, as well as a three-time OIA All-Conference pick during his own prep career.

Coming off a 30-18 record in 2014, HPU opens its 2015 season Wednesday by hosting Northwest Nazarene University at 6 p.m. at Hans L’Orange Park in Waipahu.

HPU also will play double-headers on Thursday and Friday at Hans L’Orange Park against Northwest Nazarene.

The first games will begin at 4 p.m. on both days, with the nightcaps set for 7.

In fact, the Sharks will play their first 16 games on Hans L’Orange field. Their first road game isn’t until March 21, when they meet Cal Baptist University in Riverside.

HPU’s PacWest home opener will be Feb. 27 against Fresno Pacific University.

Joining Tokunaga on the preseason All-PacWest Team (as well as a Second Team All-West Region honoree) was Saint Louis High product Derek Nakasato.

An outfielder, Nakasato led the Sharks in batting as a junior last season with a .356 average and drove in a team-best 41 RBI.

He also set a school record when he went on a 34-game hitting streak.

In addition to Tyler and Tanner Tokunaga, the Sharks also will feature several other standouts from West Oahu, including Reid Akau (Waipahu; Pearl City High), Jordan Mopas (Ewa Beach; Saint Louis), Jordan Oshiro (Pearl City; Pearl City High), William Leskovec (Kapolei; Kapolei High), Austin Inabata (Kapolei; Moanalua High), Rico Garcia (Kapolei; Saint Louis) and Tre’ Haliburton-Goeas (Kapolei; Saint Louis).