Waipahu Pitcher Gears Up For Senior Season, Recruitment

The next baseball game can never come soon enough for Waipahu’s Dylan Sugimoto. He can’t remember when that was not the case.

“I love it – I never get tired of baseball,” said senior-to-be Sugimoto. “As a kid, I would play a game in the morning, and then I’d come home and my brother and I would go outside and field balls. This was before video games. We’d be out there all day long.”

His all-consuming approach to the game is paying dividends these days, as he now finds himself among the most sought-after recruits in the state. The next three months will figure big in his recruitment, as schools usually finalize their commitments in November. Sugimoto recently returned from baseball camp at Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., and has rejoined Waipahu, which is in the midst of an impressive run in the American Legion League.

“I haven’t had any offers yet, but there is a lot of interest from different schools,” he said. “Right now, I’m keeping my doors open. It’s exciting to know I’ll get a chance at the next level. There’s a lot to think about, but it’s fun, too.”

With a grade-point average of 3.9, he likely will pursue a career in the medical field when his baseball days are complete. ” I really want to be a physical therapist. I was inspired by Curt Watanabe of Star Therapy. He is a former UH baseball player. I actually hurt my arm a few years back and went to therapy with him. That inspired me to want to go into physical therapy.”

Sugimoto has had a stellar prep career to date for the Marauders, compiling an 11-2 mark over the past two years on the mound. That included helping Waipahu win both the OIA Division II title and the DII state title in his sophomore year in 2012. This past spring, Waipahu went 8-4 in the OIA (its first season in Division I), which included a state tournament appearance. Sugimoto is eyeing his senior year as perhaps the best yet.

“We did better this year than was expected since we’d moved up to Division I,” he said. “We were under-dogs. I told all of the guys returning that, with the young guys we have coming up (from the junior varsity team last year), we have the team to do it.

“We’re all close friends (on the team) – we’re super tight,” he added. “Every chance we get this summer, we hang out.”

Sugimoto is being courted by some schools as an out-fielder, but his ticket likely will be his pitching. His fastball was clocked at 86 mph at the Stanford camp. He currently has three pitches in his repertoire. “As of now, I’m throwing a fastball, a curve and a change-up,” said Sugimoto, the son of Roy and Lori. “Over the (summer) break, I hope to add another pitch when my pitching coach (Florida Marlins Triple-A coach Brendan Sagara) returns to the island.”

Waipahu currently is in the mix to win the ALL regular season, having posted a 10-1 record through late last week. The league playoffs begin in early August with the Hawaii State ALL champion moving on to the Western Regionals in Oregon.