HPU aims to continue its winning
ways and hopes to improve on last season’s 24-24 campaign,
which included a 2-12 record away from home. Head Coach Allan
is pleased with how the team is looking after three months
of instruction and practice.
The glaring difference [from last year’s team] is going
to be the beefed-up pitching staff with unselfish team guys that
work hard,” said Sato. “Defense is going to be
our strong point, with all the guys coming back from last season
who have a year under their belt.”
The Sea Warriors added Juan Guerra, Bart Mendonca, Mike Pelsnik,
and Derok Roach, all right-handed junior transfers, to the
pitching rotation. Guerra last played for L.A. Harbor Junior
while the others all transferred from junior colleges in
The hurlers join returning right-handers Scott Batula, Zach
Blatties, Sean Paiva, Ikena DuPont and left-handers Kai Austin,
and Gainor Nitta. David Zamarano returned for his senior
season after posting a team-low 4.34 Earned Run Average to
with a 5-2 record. Also returning is fellow senior Josh Ervin,
team leader in saves (2) and appearances (16) last year.
We got some solid mainland recruits,” said Batula. “We’re
not real deep, but the pitchers available are ready to go,
barring any injuries.”
The pitching staff will rely on an experienced group of
defensive starters who also bring speed and power to the
Kyle Stanley, a junior transfer from Orange Coast College
in California, will cover third base. Alika Kuraoka will
across the diamond at first base, while sophomores Brandon
Grandon Costa will play up the middle at second base and
shortstop respectively. Costa led last year’s squad with a .379
batting average, 58 hits, and a .497 on-base percentage. Ikaika
adds a powerful bat to the offensive arsenal and will assume
the roll of designated hitter, while Bryan Daguio adds depth
to the bench and can play at third, short, and second.
Senior Tyler Ward returns to right field where he led last
with five outfield assists. Ward also led the team offensively
in home runs (5) and Runs Batted In (35). Center fielder Geoffrey
Say’s quickness makes him a threat on the base paths
where he stole 12 bases and scored 38 runs last year.
Junior Greg Benoit, a transfer from Orange Coast College,
Calif., will play left field. He boasts the strongest arm
outfielders, according to Assistant Coach Gary Nakano.
Billy Wright, a junior transfer from Ventura College Calif.,
switch-hit and could play all outfield positions if needed.
The Sea Warriors main concern coming into the season was
the catcher position. According to Coach Sato, four junior
prospects were recruited to fill the vacant spot, but all
failed to qualify academically. Chase Nakamura, formerly
will shoulder most of the catching load while Benoit and
freshman Carsen Bentley will serve as backups. While none
of these players
have any prior catching experience, all have been practicing
the position in both game simulations as well as catching
The hardest thing about catching is getting used to the squatting
and trying to block the ball instead of fielding it,” said
Throughout the season, the Sea Warriors will face some
of the most-talented teams in Division II baseball. HPU
baseball program with no conference affiliation, so the
team is able to face competition from literally one end
country to the other.
HPU will play six games against both the University of
Tampa and Sonoma State University Calif., ranked first
respectively in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s preseason
Division II baseball poll released on Dec. 19.
We try to compete against top-notch teams in our division,” said
The Sea Warriors played their first six home games
against Sonoma State in three doubleheaders Feb. 5-7
at Ke‘ehi Lagoon
Park, the same field used by HPU for practice. The rest of the
HPU home games will be played at Aloha Stadium which boasts a
recently installed “Field Turf” synthetic playing
surface similar to Astroturf.
The University of Hawai‘i-Manoa Rainbows, a Division
1 opponent, will also host two games with the Sea Warriors
17 and Mar. 13 at Les Murakami Stadium.