In­jured Fal­cons Face Chal­leng­ing Base­ball Sched­ule

MidWeek Islander (East Oahu) - - SPORTS -

vail­ing ques­tion, to hear head coach Shan­non Hi­rai tell it.

“In­juries have re­ally slowed us down so far,” he said.

A month into their pre­sea­son work­outs, hav­ing played eight games head­ing into last week­end via tour­na­ments at both Cas­tle and Mid-Pac, they have been largely without starters Devin Lee and Matt Mu­rakami. Lee’s pro­jected to be the team’s No. 1 pitcher, but has been re­hab­bing a hurt shoul­der since the sec­ond scrim­mage nearly a month ago. The plan now is for him to be in the lineup more as a des­ig­nated hit­ter when he is med­i­cally cleared.

“We don’t know how long it will be to get him into (pitch­ing) shape,” Hi­rai said of right-han­der Lee, who im­pressed dur­ing the sum­mer when Kalani played in the Amer­i­can Le­gion League.

First base­man Mu­rakami was prob­a­ble for this past week­end’s Mililani tour­na­ment. The sched­ule is un­for­giv­ing, mean­while. Kalani was to play three-time de­fend­ing OIA cham­pion Pearl City last Fri­day to open the Mililani tour­ney and was to draw ei­therWa­ianae or Kailua for its sec­ond-round game.

Kalani hosts Main­land power North Mon­terey County High School (CA) Wed­nes­day at 3:30 p.m. at Ka­hala Field. At 11 a.m. Satur­day, they host ri­val Kaiser in their OIA Red East open­ing dou­ble-header. They then fly to Cal­i­for­nia to play against Al­ham­bra March 16, Mon­tro­via March 17 and Bev­erly Hills March 18. Games with Desert Oaks High March 19 and 20 fol­low in Las Ve­gas.

“It’s a chance to bond and get some of th­ese se­niors a look from small colleges (and their coaches),” Hi­rai said.

While Lee and Mu­rakami fig­ure in the long term, the Fal­cons are nev­er­the­less buoyed by sev­eral other tal­ented vet­er­ans who played sig­nif­i­cant time last spring and over the sum­mer in ALL. Among them are se­niors Kiel Odo and Gavin Okada, who’ll play catcher and sec­ond base, re­spec­tively. They also will pitch: Odo may be late-in­ning closer and Okada per­haps a starter or mid­dle re­liever.

“We’re looking for a big sea­son from Kiel,” Hi­rai said.“He can shut down a (base-)run­ning game, and he’s got­ten stronger. He’s one of our pitchers with the most ex­pe­ri­ence, but he’s strug­gling right now.

“Gavin is our lead­ing re­turn­ing hit­ter — he bat­ted over 300 last year — and he’s also got­ten stronger. With our in­juries, we might need him to step up in pitch­ing.”

Also back are ju­niors Cody Nakashima and Dane Onaga. Nakashima will play short­stop and Onaga will pitch. Hi­rai called se­nior Ryan Ige “our big­gest sur­prise,” mean­while.

“Right now, he’s one of our most con­sis­tent pitchers, and he’s also play­ing left field for us,” he added of Ige.

Hi­rai also projects fresh­man Chase Su­mida as a pos­si­ble starter. He’s played third, catcher and pitcher so far.“He’s been a sur­prise.” Older brother Cal Su­mida will likely be a big con­trib­u­tor among the pitchers.“He’s pitch­ing re­ally well right now,” Hi­rai said.

Kalani’s trip to Cal­i­for­nia won’t be all about their own base­ball games. They’ll visit Dodger Sta­dium and the Rose Bowl and also take in some games at Cal State Northridge, where for­mer Fal­con Ridge Car­pen­ter is cur­rently a starter.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.