County of Maui Open Baseball League Game Report
Jared Davis, Brandon Crowe (4), Kyle Watanabe (8), Kalei Hendershot (9) and Riley Beeson, Ryan Silva (6). Kealii Murray, Taylor Silva (5), Jeff Murray (8) and Jeremy Loque. W – Crowe, L – Murray, S – Hendershot. HR – Watanabe (UHMC), 2B – Gonsalves (UHMC), Kealii Murray (PONO). UHMC – Watanabe 2-3, HR, 3 RBI, RUN; Kapono Thibodeaux 3-4, RBI, RUN; Gonsalves 2-4, 2B, RBI, 2 RUNS. PONO – Kealii Murray 3-4, 2B, 2 RUNS; Oscar Duran 3-3, RUN; Ian Shimabuku 2-3, 2 RUNS.
Kahului, Maui – The University of Hawaii - Maui College Baseball Club held off Team Pono to win their Open Baseball League inaugural game, 11 - 9.
Approximately 50 fans, family and friends gathered on the windy Sunday morning to take in the 2012 league opener.
Kyle Watanabe led UHMC at the plate going 2 for 3, driving in 3 runs. Watanabe broke a 4-4 tie by leading off the 8th inning with a solo home run to left field. The homer started up a 4-run inning by the UHMC bats. Watanabe also delivered in the 9th inning with a 2 RBI single. Those runs would be critical as UHMC gave up 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th and 9th.
On the mound, Brandon Crowe pitched a stellar 4 1/3 innings surrendering only 4 hits and 4 walks while striking out 7 and allowing 2 earned runs. Kalei Hendershot, the 2012 Division 2 Maui Interscholastic League MVP, picked up the save.
The University of Hawaii - Maui College Baseball Club takes on Soljahs next on Sunday July 1st at Makawao’s Eddie Tam Field at 10am.
Barry Takahashi, UHMC club team manager stated after the contest, “That was a well played game on both sides – Team Pono really battled – our next match up in August against them will be even tougher.”
When asked about the club program, Takahashi noted, “Our goal this season is recruit and train student athletes to win and demonstrate how a team from Maui, made up of UHMC students, can be very successful, on and off the diamond.”
Takahashi noted that demonstrating success is important to build credibility in order to secure preseason contests against UH Hilo’s and Hawaii Pacific’s intercollegiate teams, in the near future. “This,” Takahashi said, “is a key step for club programs to help establish intercollegiate sports for UHMC.”
The Maui Open baseball league in the summer is a very good start for the UHMC Club team to get their feet wet however, the vision for the club is to also have them host and travel to tournaments in the fall and spring, against other collegiate club teams.
“We have contacted over 40 baseball clubs on the west coast and the response has been good – some are interested in coming over for spring tournaments while some have invited us to series or tournaments on the Mainland.”
University of Illinois & Marquette University, both 2012 EA Sports Maui Invitational Basketball participants, have expressed interest in coming in November for a tournament. Marquette has also invited UHMC’s club to their 2013 Miller Park Tournament, home of the Milwaukee Brewers.
“Cal State Long Beach is interested in coming here for a Spring Break tournament. UC Santa Barbara invited UHMC to their 2013 Carnival Classic, and University of San Diego and Northern Arizona University are interested in us visiting them next spring.”
Because this is a club program, most of the travel expenses are the responsibility of the members and backers. While they gladly accept donations, they are not waiting around for something to happen; they are doing something for the community - UHMC players and staff are raising funds the rest of July by conducting baseball camps in Kihei at Hitters Paradise from 8-11am Monday thru Friday for boys and girls ages 8 to 14 years old. “Hitters Paradise has been a huge help in getting the club program going by working with us in allowing our club members to make full use of their great training facility.”
The ultimate anchor for the club would be a field where Takahashi said he and his staff could train and prepare members daily without distraction. “We have discussed securing, grooming and improving a flat piece of land in the central Maui area conducive for a UHMC club baseball and softball program.” ”The clubs would put in the labor to groom the field and take care of the grass and surface. We would find fencing, seating and restrooms and put it up ourselves for our fans and guests. We would aim to host tournaments at this field and share it with youth leagues in the summer when baseball fields are at a premium on Maui.”
Takahashi said, “You know that line from the movie ‘Field of Dreams’ with Kevin Costner, “If you build it, they will come?” Well, that’s how UH Manoa and UH Hilo began their trek to their current NCAA status. Their intercollegiate programs were started by Coach Les Murakami at Manoa then Coach Joey Estrella at Hilo as club teams, pretty much playing in a sandlot. “It’s a good time for us to begin pursuing our own field of dreams.“
For more information, please contact program manager Barry Takahashi 250-6835 firstname.lastname@example.org
2012 UHMC Maui Open Baseball League Schedule