Minami’s mantra: take care
Waiakea senior knows exactly what he wants – for himself and others
From the start, Nate Minami knew where he was headed, and he was pushed by all the right people.
The Waiakea senior outfielder signed a national letter of intent with Simpson University, an NAIA school in Redding, Calif., where he’ll be teammates with 2016 Hilo graduate Brett Komatsu.
“I was hopeful to get a scholarship to help with the financial cost of college,” Minami said. “It takes a lot of hard work and dedication on and off the field to earn a scholarship. The most challenging part is managing time for school work as well as workouts.”
Minami, who has a 3.6 grade-point average, already has his future figured out. He plans to major in nursing at Simpson, which finished 4-50 last season.
“Nursing is a family tradition,” he said. “I will be the fourth generation of nurses in my family. Nursing will allow me to help people, and I find that very rewarding and fulfilling.”
His mom Nikki is a nurse and dad Kelly is a firefighter. His older brother Nick is an auto technician in Washington state.
“My greatest influences are my parents. They never let me slack and never let me settle,” Minami said. “They’ve always set high expectations, both in the classroom and on the field.”
Simpson’s nursing program was started in 2011, and at the time the school’s provost Dr. Stanley Clark said, “The shortage of nurses in the north state is chronic and problematic.”
That likely means when Minami gets certified as a nurse, there will be a job waiting somewhere near Redding.
He’s already talked to Komatsu about being a Red Hawk, whose nest is a gorgeous 92-acre campus with an enrollment of over 1,200, roughly the same size as Waiakea.
“Brett said he enjoys it there, and the coaches are supportive,” Minami said. “I like that Simpson is a smaller school and has the university feel without an overwhelming population. Also, their nursing program seems to be really good, and they seem to be dedicated to their students.”
Like Komatsu, Minami is a product of Kaha Wong’s Big Island Baseball organization and has been pushed hard by a coach whose charter members include Kolten and Kean Wong, Kodi Medeiros, and Jodd Carter, all pro ball players.
“I started working with Coach Kaha from the age of 8. He’s taught me discipline, the value of working hard, and that there is no substitute for hard work,” Minami said. “He always pushes players hard in the cage and on the field to reach their highest potential. Laziness and excuses are never accepted or tolerated by Coach Kaha. He has definitely impacted both my baseball life and my life in general.
“Watching special players like Kolten, Kean, Kodi, Jodd, and numerous others has shown that hard work doesn’t stop. With hard work anything is possible. They helped open doors for players like me to play at the next level.”
Red Hawk assistant and recruiting coordinator Dan Tating has been a regular at the Trosky showcase in December at Wong Stadium. He’s had an eagle eye on Minami, who has put muscle on his 5-foot-9, 165-pound frame.
“The Simpson coaches liked my hitting and how I developed physically over the past year,” Minami said. “It showed that I’ve put in the work required to get better. “
Kelly Minami liked the fact that Wong takes consideration in hooking up his players, especially to schools that flock to the Trosky showcase.
“I think it’s important that Kaha finds the best fit for each individual kid,” Kelly Minami said. “He does a lot for the kids and goes above and beyond for each of his players.”
Minami has been a two-time AllBIIF first team pick. As a freshman, he received honorable mention, flashing an impact bat from the start.
Last season, the leadoff hitter batted .472 and posted a .537 on-base clip for the BIIF Division I champion Warriors.
His goal is a simple one for his senior season.
“Hopefully, we can win a BIIF championship again this season and for me to overall become a better player,” Minami said.
A two-time All-BIIF first-team pick and a future nurse, Nathan Minami batted leadoff for Waiakea last season and hit .472.