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HPU baseball drops 3 of 4
Team bids aloha to coach Sato

by Kyle Galdiera, staff writer

 

Hope of postseason play, undermined by a dismal road trip, was dashed as the HPU baseball team lost three of its final four to the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo, finished its season with a 21-19 record, and bid farewell to Head Coach Allan Sato.

 

The Sea Warriors dropped three of four games against NCAA I Hilo in two doubleheaders April 16 and 17 at Aloha Stadium. HPU’s lone win went to Ikena DuPont who pitched a complete-game shutout for the 3-0 victory in the third game of the series. DuPont (2-1) struck out seven Vulcan batters and took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Shortstop Grandon Costa and first baseman Alika Kuraoka led the Sea Warriors offensively, each going 2-3 with an RBI.

HPU dropped the first two and fourth games of the series 11-4, 5-0, and 6-4, respectively.
At the conclusion of the final game, Sea Warrior seniors Greg Benoit, Bryan Daguio, and Kuraoka ran around the bases for the last time in their HPU uniform, continuing the “Senior Day” tradition. Families, friends, and fans gave leis and bid farewell to the departing players and to Sato during the emotional ceremony.

Sato announced his retirement effective at season’s end because he wants to spend more time with his family and possibly pursue other coaching options. In 10 years at the helm of HPU baseball, he compiled a 205-210-1 record and is still the only Sea Warrior pitcher—Sato played for HPU from 1983-86—to defeat the University of Hawai‘i-Manoa, a feat he accomplished twice.
“ It’s hard leaving such a great group of kids,” he said, “who have been part of my extended family. But it’s time for me to move on and spend more time with my wife and children, who have sacrificed so much and supported me for so long.”

Dark sunglasses concealed a river of tears as Sato hugged every player on his team as he received leis that piled up over his head.

The Sea Warriors fell to NCAA I UH-Manoa 3-1 at Les Murakami Stadium April 13. Josh Guerra threw 137 pitches in 6.2 innings of work allowing only five hits and two runs while striking out five Rainbows. Despite the strong performance, Guerra took the loss as the offense managed just four hits. Kuraoka doubled and scored the lone Sea Warrior run on designated hitter Spencer Omalza’s sacrifice fly.

Ikena DuPont contributed to this story.

 

 

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